"Is it true, Dave?" I could see the pain etched in Lisa's face as she confronted me in the school cafeteria. I knew exactly what she was asking me, but I had no desire to have this conversation with her in a room filled with our friends and peers. I was trying to think of some way of avoiding that. "You fucked Nora? Don't you dare try to lie!"
"Are you that certain that we should be having this drama played out here, Lisa? Is this what you really want?"
"Answer me, damn you!"
"Fine, yes, it is true. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Why?" I looked up when she asked me that. I could see the tears falling. I heard the terrible despair in that single word she asked.
"Why not? You made it pretty clear that you and I were finished. What was I supposed to do, spend the rest of my life being miserable, waiting around to see if you were ever going to decide if you would give me another chance? Nora said she wanted to, so why not?"
"The rest of your life? We were broken up for less than twenty four hours, Dave. Couldn't you have waited any longer than that?"
Apparently, that was a rhetorical question she'd just asked, since she turned back away from me and moved over to where all her friends were clustered. Lisa hated being alone, even when highly personal business needed to be transacted. She had more than a smidgen of "Drama Queen" in her personality inventory as well.
Looking around, I could feel the sides being taken. I knew most of the guys would see things pretty much the same way I had. Lisa had dumped me last Friday, in a loud, very public, and definitely emotional tantrum laced invective filled manner. She had finished up by taking off my varsity jacket and throwing it on the ground. For a few seconds, I'd been afraid she might decide to stomp up and down on it.
Going steady with Lisa for three months had been an experience. I'd never been in a relationship that had so many ups and downs to it. We'd had sex together after the second date. At first, she'd tried to make me believe that I had been her first. After I told her what Nick and Clancy Edwards had told me, she quickly amended her claim, now saying I was the fourth boy she'd been with, then trying to explain why those other three shouldn't be counted, because it hadn't seemed real to her at the time. I'd told her that her being with those other three boys didn't matter to me, which was mostly true. She was my first, and that did matter to me.
It took about a week before things settled down and got calm again at school. Most of the girls in my classes weren't speaking to me, or to Nora, for that matter. The boys were an entirely different matter though. This was certainly true for me, but even more true with Nora. The rise in her popularity among the boys was instant and incredible. When asked, I'd refused to comment on, or to compare, either Nora or Lisa. Why should I?
Hero to the other boys, social pariah among the girls. Such was my new social reality in school. Even Nora, now that she had more male attention than she could possibly handle, was doing everything in her power to try to distance herself from me. I would have laughed if it hadn't been so pathetic.
I was sitting in front of the television, a week and a half after our cafeteria confrontation, when our phone rang and my mother told me that Lisa was calling for me. I almost refused to take her call. If my doing so wouldn't have triggered at least a hundred uncomfortable questions from my mother, I would have refused to take the call.
"Dave, tell me what you told Glen Snyder about me." Lisa sounded anxious, but not too angry or upset.
"What do you mean? I haven't spoken to Glen about you since before we broke up."
"What about before that? Did you tell him any of the things we used to do together?"
"No, why would I say anything about stuff like that to Glen?"
"He asked me out during Chemistry lab today. I was just nervous that you might have told him something about me, about us, or about the things we used to do before."
"I don't go around talking about people. I haven't said anything about you to anyone. Not the kinds of things you'd be worried about anyway."
"Do you think I should tell him I'll go out with him? He's supposed to call me tonight for my answer."
"Up to you. Why are you asking me? Don't you think this is a little bit creepy? Calling your ex to discuss who you'll be dating?"
"Creepy? You think showing someone the common courtesy of checking in like this is creepy? I can see that we really do operate on different wavelengths. Forget I bothered to call you." I heard the receiver on her end hit the cradle, ending the phone call.
Lisa went out with Glen, and things at school started getting back to something even closer to normal. They were now better than they'd been ever since the cafeteria showdown had happened. A few girls even smiled at me now, mostly in the school hallways, but sometimes in my classes as well. The cold shoulder wasn't completely gone, but I could see definite signs that it was beginning to thaw.
Three weeks after the incident in the cafeteria that had started things, I got yet another phone call from Lisa.
"Dave, can you speak freely now?"
"I guess. I'm here alone until my folks get home. What did you want to say to me?" Lisa had been speaking very quietly into the phone. I figured her parents were close by the phone, and she probably didn't want them overhearing her conversation. I spoke in my normal voice.
"Glen asked me to call you. He's here at my house. We're studying. He wants me to ask you to do him a favor."
Her voice still sounded like she was trying to whisper. I wondered if it was Glen she didn't want hearing what she was saying.
"What kind of favor?" I was already getting a bad feeling about this conversation. I heard muffled voices in the background. It sounded like at least two other people besides Lisa. One voice was definitely male, and I thought I heard a different female voice as well.
"If you come over here, I'll tell you in person. It isn't something I want to be saying over the phone. You'll probably like what he wants me to ask you."
"Can't you wait and ask me tomorrow, in school? I'm doing some stuff right now, and I need to get it finished before my dad gets home."
"I'm still supposed to not be talking to you anymore. I can't talk to you about this in school anyway, Dave."
"That might make sense to you, Lisa, but not to me. Have Glen ask me about it himself then. I talk to him all the time in school."
"He's too embarrassed to ask. That's why he asked me to ask you for him." I noticed that Lisa had now dropped all pretence of keeping her voice down. I wasn't too surprised by that.
"Well, it will have to wait then until I don't have important things I need to get done. Will you be home on Saturday? I could drop over for a few minutes then."
"Today is Tuesday. Are you trying to tell me that you'll be busy every day until Saturday? What are you doing that needs all your attention all the time?"
"My father gave me an assignment from his work. He's paying me, and he wants it finished by Friday night." This was a lie, but so was everything I'd been telling her about my being busy. One of the best benefits of having Lisa break up with me was no longer having to jump through all her hoops.
"Glen wants to learn how to fuck, okay?"
"Shouldn't you be the one teaching him? I hope you don't think I'm going to teach him?"
"Better, that's what I meant. He wants to get better, and I don't know how to explain to him what you used to do."
I will admit to being flattered by what Lisa was implying. Counting my times with both her and Nora, my experience was limited to two girls. I'd only been with Nora that one night too.
"Are Glen and you alone, or is there another girl there too?"
"Nora is here. I had her come over to see if she could explain to Glen what it was that you do. She told me she didn't know either."
Somehow, and I can't say I understood why, Lisa and Nora had gotten back to being friends again. I think Nora not speaking to me was part of the price she needed to pay to get back into Lisa's good graces again.
This might be a good point for me to admit that I was only continuing with this very bizarre conversation because it had been almost a month since that time with Nora, and more than a month since my last time with Lisa. My physical need was starting to become a problem. I was spending way too much time thinking about sex, and thus far, with absolutely nothing to show for all that time.
"You can't just tell someone how to do it. They have to learn themselves, as they go along. That was how I did it, by trial and error. Let him get some practice and he'll be fine."
"We don't agree. You don't get better by repeating all the things that aren't working. He needs to see what it looks like when the guy is doing it right."
"You broke up with me, remember? That doesn't say much about how right I was doing things, does it?"
"That was because you only wanted to do that one thing with me. A woman needs more than good sex. There are so many other things that you weren't good at. You made a lousy boyfriend."
"Since we're having this conversation, I'd guess that Glen does well in all those other areas where I was weak?"
"Absolutely! In every other way, Glen is the perfect boyfriend for me. Nora agrees with me too."
"Tell me what it is that Glen wants me to do for him?"
"He wants you to show him how you do it."
"Show him? With who? You, or Nora?"
.... There is more of this story ...