I was 14 and I was having slippery feelings. I was having them for Roelle, the sophomore with giant tits who told me she liked my shirt, before crawling under a wool blanket to make out with her boyfriend on the front lawn of the high school. I was having them for Eleanor, who told me it was her dad’s birthday the three times I asked her to hang out. I was even having them for Colleen, who was only 4’7”, and who ate her height in Taco Bell tacos, and who therefore smelled like she had been bathing in a vat of expired salsa.
“I hate girls!” I said slumping down next to my sister, Sarah at our kitchen table. “They never like me,” I looked up at Sarah hopefully. “Do you think they like me?” I looked down at my hands. “They don’t like me. What am I even supposed to do?”
Sarah was 17 and an encyclopedia of sexual knowledge. She listened in her typical way; nodding, while sticking golf-ball sized clumps of corn muffin into her mouth. After several seconds of chewing, she spat the remains onto the kitchen table and rolled new, gooier balls of corn muffin that were then chewed with the same casual indifference as the first batch.
“Well,” she said, “You can always masturbate.”
I traced my fingers across the chipped surface of the table. “I don’t really think I’ve figured out how to do that yet.”
Sarah paused, her face frozen in an expression of pain, as if something bitter and alive had just been found in her food pile. “You don’t know how to do it?!”
I glared. I hadn’t come here to be mocked. “It’s complicated down there!”
Sarah gave me a tight smile. “Okay, because I love you,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, “And because I don’t know how you’ve managed to stay alive this long without an orgasm, I’ll show you what to do.”
She pointed to a pen and a pad of paper by the phone in the hallway and I scurried to fetch them.
“Do me a favor,” Sarah said, yanking the pen out of my hand and testing it out on her arm. “After today, don’t ever talk to me about this again.”
I nodded eagerly as she began to draw.
“Ok this,” she said making a swift line down the center of the paper, “is your vagina.”
I burst out laughing, “Even I know it doesn’t look like that!”
Sarah crammed another lump of muffin into her mouth and pointed the pen at me. “I will stop right now. I don’t even care. This isn’t for me.”
I bit the inside of my cheek, and nodded for her to continue. Sarah drew a circle at the bottom end of the line, her hand pressing down hard, causing the ink to blot in some places. “This,” she pointed authoritatively, “is the butthole. Don’t bother with it.” She drew a hasty “X” through the circle.
I bit my cheek harder.
Sarah drew another circle halfway up the line. “This is your vagina hole, where the babies come out, and, if you were normal and liked penises, where guys would have sex with you. Don’t bother with that either.”
She drew another “X.”
Sarah then carefully traced a small circle at the top of the line. “This,” she hesitated, her voice rising to a high, embarrassed crack, “is your clitoris.”
“The thing at the top?” I breathed.
Sarah smiled tightly again. “Yes,” she said. “That’s the thing you want to,” she squirmed her fingers in the air, “touch or whatever.”
Sarah put the pen down and started pinching the last bits of muffin off the table. My eyes jogged from the radiator, to the dishwasher, to the pots hanging on the wall. I began to wonder how I could manage to leave the room without making it obvious that I was leaving to go masturbate.
I pointed at the stairs. “So I’m gonna –”
“Yeah,” Sarah interrupted, sliding the piece of paper across the table to me. “I don’t need to know.”