Robert said: When I was just a kid, there was a girl that I used to hang out with, our neighbour’s daughter, Denden. She was a steady fixture in our house having been entrusted by her own yaya to us every time she went out to get something at the market. I was too young to be self-conscious around girls. I was seven and Den-den a year younger. But I always thought that she had more courage, wilder than I could ever be at that time. We had just seen Superman III on Betamax and were playing in the bedroom alone. I don’t remember where my yaya was but I do remember the static on the TV, the hissing noise it makes when nothing is coming out of it. She had put a deflated salbabida on her shoulders, acting like the sassy villainess in the movie. I had tied a blanket on my neck as a cape. I was asking her about something when she turned to me with these wild eyes. “Do you want to know my secret?” she asked me. “What?” I said. She told me that her secret is hidden beneath her clothes and this she followed with a dare. Would I dare to search for it? Thinking of it now I think she already knew about the difference between the two of us, the thing that made us a boy and a girl.
Are you familiar with Alice Munro’s works? Robert asked me. Not much, I said. There is a passage from one of her stories that I couldn’t get out of my mind, he told me. Every time I would come across it, I would remember Den-den. Robert took out his Tablet and we both searched through its contents until he had found the aforementioned passage. It was about a girl’s refusal to acknowledge the sexual tension between her and her friend. “There was none of that bothered search for hiding places, none of that twiddling pleasure and frustration and immediate, raw shame,” Munro wrote.
Robert told me that he was struck with the words “search for hiding places” for it was what he and Den-den had done that afternoon. He lifted up his shirt for him so Den-den could compare the size of their nipples. She raised her skirt for Robert so he could get a better glimpse of what is hidden behind her panties. He in return pulled his pants down so she could see what he has been hiding all along.
How did it feel when she reached out and touched it? I asked him.
Robert was silent for a moment and came up with nothing. He couldn’t recall what he felt that afternoon but he remembers the shame that he felt as soon as he was exposed. Suddenly, he said, he became self-conscious around her.
I was 17, I told Robert. I had seen a fair share of porn and I spent most of my afternoons jerking off at the dorm when my roommate was still in class. But I was a virgin and like any other virgins at that age I was anxious to have real sex. There was this girl, Sandy, a year older than me. She wasn’t exactly a friend but we regularly exchanged messages on some online chat room. It was like a dance with her. There were times when she would drop hints and there were times when I would invite her over. But nothing came out of it. She would be okay one minute and then she would back out. There was a time when I, myself, backed out because I wasn’t sure. To be honest I was scared. There were so many things to think about. But one afternoon, we both agreed to meet. I asked her over for some drinks and the moment she came to the dorm I knew we were ready. After a few bottles I made a move. My heart was about to ricochet out of my chest. I was scared shitless. I leaned over and kissed her. When she kissed back, I pushed her down and pressed my hips on her. I already had a hard-on. I started unbuttoning her blouse but naturally I had trouble taking off her bra as I had never unhooked a bra in my life. In my haste to touch her breasts I pulled the padding down hurting her in the process. I stopped for a second and let her untangle the hooks at the back. And then I was squeezing the supple left breast with my left hand, grazing her nipple with my thumb. Hurriedly I tried to unbutton her pants because I wanted to touch her pussy. I had not seen a cunt in real life and I badly wanted to see one. I watched carefully as she pulled down her pants along with her panties. I could still see her now. I could still see her black pubic hair and the tender, small slit beneath it. Slowly, I put my middle finger through it and I remember my finger being smothered with her juice. My dick was already protruding from my shorts and she unbuttoned mine while she was still in my hand. She was also exploring then. She held the length of my cock and touched my balls with her manicured fingers. I almost came when she did that. We were so aroused by something that is so unfamiliar to each of us.
It was a balmy night and Robert and I decided to walk to the highway from the cafe. I was a bit tipsy and was just glad to be with this man that I had liked for a very long time. I hailed a cab and we both sat at the back. Neither of us spoke. I could feel my skin humming and I tried desperately not to reach out and touch even the tip of his fingers. Quietly, we climbed up to my room and as soon as we got in, he turned to me and smiled. I smiled back and leaned over. I kissed him full on the mouth. There is roughness, I discovered, when you kiss a man. There is a different texture, coarser compared to when with a woman. He took off his clothes, I took off mine. We knew what we were both going to see. We knew what we were going to get. There was no mystery of course. Whatever his clothes hid I had already seen in my own body. But still there was this aching need to explore, this desire to intimately know the slopes and creases. It wasn’t the physical differences between us that felt new. It was the different sensations that I felt beneath the bodies we already know so very well.