Bad things happen
when you’re a brave adventurer looking for risk in a cruel world. Such things happen to wealthy girls in country-club neighborhoods and to poor girls who grow up in the slums. Sometimes you never see the guy again (other times he winds up nominated to the Supreme Court)…
“Once she was lying down in the dark, the ghosts of her past that Mother Laura had summoned came back to haunt her. She remembered her first love; she fifteen and eager to dispose of her virginity, Dennis a worldly-wise (or so it seemed) sixteen, and more than willing to help. They used to find little niches like this one in the unmowed corners of the parks, around the backs of alleys they’d slip their supple teenaged bodies through chain-link fence to get into, or (her favorite) on a blanket on the roof of his apartment building, the sun in its blazing heat bringing out the contrast of his brown skin with her pale whiteness.
One day, he lay on one elbow after they’d made love, stroking her sleek, firm adolescent body, and said, “One day, we’ll be married and have a daughter. She’ll have café-au-lait skin and eyes as green as yours.” D.D. smiled now, remembering.
Then she remembered Yvonne, Dennis’s mother, who had figured out their oh-so-transparent lies and gumshoed them up onto the roof. D.D. in her bra, picking up her shirt to pull it on, turning and coming face to face with Yvonne’s furious demand that they come downstairs right now!
Delaying it, dressing slowly and apprehensively, dragging their feet down twenty-four flights, to find Yvonne and D.D.’s parents embedded in the living room. Yvonne shrieking into her face words like whore and slut and aren’t you ashamed? D.D.’s mother and father silently taking in the cruelty, speechless and unsure how to react, Dennis posed rigidly, expressionless, a stone, not looking at her or taking her hand, underneath the Eldridge Cleaver poster on the wall.
No, I am not ashamed. I will never be ashamed. And I am never coming back.
Her parents still sitting, still impassive, on Yvonne’s sofa. The door slamming behind her so satisfyingly, the doorman downstairs backing up a step when he saw her furious tear-streaked face. She didn’t remember walking home, but she would have stopped the tears and put on a street face, because crying white girl’s tears in the street of that neighborhood was like slinging a bucket of chum to sharks.
Getting to her walk-up tenement building somehow. Unlocking the first door, to the street, and Calvin coming up, the boy who had been eyeing her when she walked by the crowd of Puerto Rican and black boys who hung out on the next street—eyeing her but not saying anything crude or making kissing noises or hissing sounds, like some of them did. She’d smiled at him a few times before she met Dennis, and even wrote in her diary that he was cute, making a little heart instead of the dot over the “i” in his name.
Calvin was suddenly behind her in the entryway as she fitted her key in the second door and turned it, and then he was pressing her against the wall at the foot of the stairs, bigger and more solid than she’d thought, his mouth bruising hers and his chest squeezing the air out of her lungs. Laughing when she struggled to push him off her, covering her mouth with his again when she finally got enough breath to try to scream, his hands, his cock, his rancid smell, the pain, and too late, the sound of a door opening upstairs and another tenant clattering down the stairwell, five floors up.
He’d ghosted. She’d pulled up her shorts and run inside her family’s empty apartment before anyone could see her like that. She had cried herself to sleep, as she was crying now.
…And waking at the first light of dawn, shivering and wet with dew, with hands and face bloated with bug bites.”