Here’s a piece I wrote for my writing class. I’m not posting it in its entirety. Certain people who read my blog would object.
I thought we were going to stop. As we drove past the parallel white lines of the intersection, I screamed inaudibly—that scream you see in amusement park monitors of people plunging down roller coasters—that scream you never hear; you only see it. I saw the solid red light. I thought she did too. My friend, in the driver seat, skidded her car to a stop. Not used to driving in the city, she became aware of the stoplight after we passed the stoplight.
I never did actually scream, but my mouth gaped open as I braced myself for impact, clutching at my sides. I was 23. Instantly, thinking this might be the end of my earthly journey, I felt sorry for myself. ‘Too young to die,’ I thought. But even more prevalent was the thought of dying a virgin. I screamed inaudibly, ‘I am going to die and I’ve never even had sex!’
My friend’s halt had come much too late past a busy intersection at Presidio and Pine, but we were safe and saved. Hallelujah, we were saved. Two Catholic girls careening through the bustle of San Francisco, we were blessed that people took a cue from God and rested on that seventh day. For a Sunday afternoon, there wasn’t a single car or Muni bus crossing the intersection in our path. We would have been laid to rest right then and there.
After shaking away the jitters and together screaming “OMIGOD” (audibly this time), I reflected on my thoughts and actions—or inactions. I hadn’t reached for the emergency break. I wasn’t quick enough to prevent a possible accident. I didn’t think of those who would miss me the most: my immigrant parents, most significantly my mom who would call asking if I had brushed my teeth or if I was wearing a sweater—it was getting chilly at night, or my sister who at 18-months older looked so much like me people often thought we were twins. I had anchored on a single thought as I braced myself and waited for that accident that never happened.
Sex. I recalled stories from girlfriends about their first times and the blood, the pain. I had sighed wistfully in the dark, hidden in the bleachers of my high school gym as I watched couples embrace at school dances. Classmates rented hotel rooms on prom night. I imagined naked bodies grinding on each other. Back at home, my mother greeted me well before midnight, not due to a curfew, but no one wanted to grind on me. In my college dorm, I walked in on my roommate and her boyfriend. Naked and surprised, they grabbed for a blanket as they huddled to take cover. She shrieked repeatedly, “I’m so embarrassed. I’m so sorry, I’m just so embarrassed.” I didn’t think she had anything to be embarrassed about as I made my way back again to the library. I had no where else to go.
Into my early twenties, I still hadn’t experienced it. It didn’t help that during Easter—the most religious holiday—my 28-year-old multi-partner cousin encouraged me to engage in ample grinding activities. She taunted, “Honey, what are you waiting for? You got cobwebs in your cooch. You need to get laid.” Witty and full-bosomed (a winning combination), she had a steady stream of lovers who caved in to her whims. During one bar exchange, I watched wide-eyed as she held out her hand and demanded that a man she had just met give her the silver ring off his right hand. Whining that it was his grandfather’s, he still handed it over. I, too, found her irresistible as she ordered rounds of drinks and left me—her baby cousin—at the bar to pay the bill.
I felt cheated of the adolescent, young adult ritual that most my age had already experienced and were continuing to experience nightly. Sex is everywhere: TV, magazines, movies, even in my favorite literary classics like Wuthering Heights. While I read about it, others were experiencing it. I felt deprived.
The accident never happened. I didn’t perish at that intersection, but neither did my thoughts. I couldn’t overcome the anguish of this void. I continued to feel like I was missing out.