Monday, January 28, 2008

1970 - Jennifer

Jennifer, my first real girlfriend, was lovely. Not petite like so many other girls, she stood tall, her long brown hair pulled carefully back off her face and around the side of her large, friendly face. With a hint of freckles, large blue eyes and delicious teeth, her coy, almost self-conscious smile seriously entered my life when I was 16.

Jenny’s skin was delicate; she could never be accused of being a weekend bikini-brigade girl. And I liked her hips, her bum, her legs and her breasts – although it took me more than a year to bring myself to touch them, feeling their soft, feminine warmth between my young, ignorant fingers.

And I particularly liked her calm voice. Not quite the tone of a woman, but no longer that of a young girl. Always smooth and mellow. And because she liked me too, she touched me well and comfortably.

We’d known each other for years, through a shared primary school experience, but I’d only ever liked her peripherally, from an unemotional distance. Now I liked her immensely, close up and personal. Jenny, her brother, Peter, and her mum and dad lived in a solid, but unassuming rendered brick and tile-roofed house in Tarrawanna, a short bike ride down the highway, and across a small footbridge over Angel Creek on the southern side of Corrimal.

Initially, we’d see each other at school dances and other social events, and increasingly I’d invite Jen to dinner at our home, especially during the holidays of our final high school years. By then, she’d left Holy Cross College which butted up against our boys’ school, and was ensconced in a serious Sydney boarding school. And while our languid afternoon hand-holding train trips home at the end of each school day had ended, we were entering a new, mysterious, erotic world together. We wrote to each other constantly.

She was great company, Jenny, and a great kisser too. I recall as though only yesterday the first time she allowed me to touch her breasts as our lingering kissing wafted skyward on delicious evening pleasure wings. By then I was 17, and still very much the anxious, awkward virgin. She was too. Yet despite this crystal clear memory fragment, I can’t recall our first kiss; it must have been so natural as to have been expected by both of us, and those around us.

We’d also meet up in Wollongong, while she was working at the city’s largest department store during the summer holidays, and she’d always smile coyly and excitedly when I walked up to the counter she was serving on. And we’d go to parties together.

We got better and more practised at exploring each other, slowly, methodically, more comfortably. And we enjoyed the experience immensely. I’d particularly delight in holding Jenny’s hands and kissing her in the back of our car, as Dad drove us back to her place after dinner. I’m not sure what Dad thought. Nor did I care. We never discussed these erotic sojourns.

I just needed as much of Jen and her delicious, young-woman fragrance as I could have at the time.

I’m still not sure what happened in the end. Perhaps it was the almost two years of forced school-year separation. Perhaps it was the sheer weight of fresh university experiences when I, too, moved to Sydney in 1973. Perhaps our relationship just ran its course and, short of taking the next full-blown Great Leap Forward, had nowhere to go.

But for whatever reason – and to Mum’s unspoken relief – I wasn’t quite ready for sex, and I’m not sure Jenny was either.

We just moved on to the next phases of our increasingly complicated lives, farewelling forever the clear-cut, simpler days of lives in Corrimal.


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