Wednesday 25 March 2020

Staying the Night

by Lena Green


We called it snogging or necking in those days – and we did quite a lot of it. Mostly it happened on a Saturday as we walked through the park, or along the banks of the river as we walked into town. Other times it would be in the cinema, and of course when we got back home and sat on the settee drinking coffee. 

It was modern to drink coffee then and I remember that although neither of us liked coffee we were keen to be seen a modern. We would take sips, place our cups back on the coffee table, look at each other, and then, well … neck!

Occasionally on the settee a hand would wander, his, not mine, followed by one of those ‘stop it - I like it’ struggles of unexplored desire. It was all very new. It was all very innocent.

And so it was, that one evening some ten days after my sixteenth birthday, my cards still displayed on the sideboard, he whispered in my ear, 'Can I stay the night?’

Failing to realise the inference in those simple words I said, ‘Of course you can!’ before calling to mother saying, ‘John’s asked to stay the night. Is it OK?’

I'm still not sure whether she read the situation better than I but I remember her busying herself with spare blankets and sheets, making up a bed or him on the very settee where had had until two minutes ago sat contented in deep snog.

John was very quiet the following morning. By contrast I was bubbly, girlish, pleased to be sharing the breakfast table with him, oblivious to anything other than his presence.

He said he needed to get back home so I walked with him. Still I chatted, still he remained subdued, until on reaching his door, he said, ‘but I wanted to sleep with you.’

In that moment my girlish world stopped. Embarrassed by my blindness, my gauche inexperienced failure to understand what had been implied, I sobbed. Every glimmer of the sophistication I was trying so hard to acquire was stripped form me.

We stood in silence: I frightened by the realisation than I stood on the brink of something of which I was not ready. That someone fancied me – not just for snogging - but for ‘going all the way’, and surely not –sex!

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