Heileen - Ch. 5
Going back to the cabin and living there for a few days was of course the easiest thing we did.
I thought long about the school and my friends that Tuesday night, while trying to fall asleep. I would see Trisha and be able to tell her everything. And of course I needn’t explain my behavior to everybody? After all, those people knew me from childhood; how terrible could it possibly be?
It was actually hard. I was met with silence and cold stares. The children would whisper to themselves and then suddenly stop as I drew near. I could feel the reproach of the teachers as they counseled the other students to be careful when in our presence and – well – to avoid associating with us. I would find messages on the blackboard regarding my state, for which the word “unflattering” would be a euphemism. Fortunately it was only for three days, so I gritted my teeth and faced it. It was with relief that I said goodbye to everybody on Friday. Paul was somewhat luckier; he was a boy, and boys that age are supposed to date girls and – well… These things can happen after all, can they not? He applied himself hard, and was rewarded in the end by good marks and a well-earned diploma.
I spent all the time during recess with Trisha. We had known each other since a very early age – I actually cannot remember not playing with her or seeing her, even when we still didn’t go to school. We used to do everything together, and we had vowed not to keep anything secret from each other. She was understanding, and offered to help me anytime, anywhere and anyhow. She would be my baby sitter, and do it for free. And of course she wanted to know everything! She knew we had made love – this much was obvious enough! – but now that we were actually living together, she was dying to know how it was. She felt let down a bit because I had not told her of my pregnancy, but she stood by me and was on my side more than once against other girls, who would speak ill or snub me.
Every afternoon was spent – as required – at Paul’s house. We painted the rooms in the back – which had been uninhabited since they had bought the house – and moved furniture around to fit our needs. The double bed came from my house: there was one in the barn that had belonged to my grandparents; the closet was from my room – it was bigger than his and it looked newer and sturdier. The second room was actually a small sitting room, and we left it furnished as it already was. There was a comfortable – if somewhat worn – couch, two armchairs, a table, a cupboard, and a writing desk in one corner. My mother gave me the curtains that used to hang on the windows in our parlor. And there was a small bathroom we could use, so that we did not have to go upstairs. It was somewhat small, but a far cry from the cabin, and it was ours.
My parents were packing stuff to get ready to move, and I packed my things. I had the large suitcase I used when we went on vacation, and I filled it with my clothes and my belongings. It took time to carry all my belongings – my dear boxes and stuff – and to find a proper place for them. Every evening our families would get together – generally at Paul’s house because of the hubbub at mine. What with one thing and another, at the end of the day we were exhausted, and had barely the strength to go back to the cabin. We slept like logs. On Saturday afternoon Mom and Dad loaded everything on the car and left. They would be back over the next weekends to pack more stuff and move it to the city. The people who worked at the farm were helping with the packing, and the overseer would actually come at the weekends to speed things up.
Sunday was a big day. We woke up a little later, gathered the few things we had with us, and left the cabin for good. Our little lovers’ nest at the back of Paul’s house was ready, and I must say I was looking forward to moving there. And then of course it was church day.
We went to church with Paul’s parents, and I sat between him and his father. I understood it was their way of telling people that they considered me part of the family, and that they dared anybody interfere. We stayed at our seat at the end of church, and spoke a few minutes with the minister. He made inquiries about our relationship and our intentions, but did not press the matter much further – no “Renounce Satan and come back to God” sermon; it was more on the lines of “God is a friend and forgives repentant sinners”. He made it clear – though – that we were sinners, and would be so until our bond was blessed.
After dinner on Sunday night, Paul sat by his father in the living room to watch television, while I helped Ann with the dishes. Somewhat later we rose and retired. We were sitting on the bed, when Paul turned to me.
“Are you really tired tonight?”
We had been so tired the previous days that we had not made love to each other since that night at the cabin.
“I suppose I can keep my eyes open for a few more minutes…” And I did, of course.
He was gentle as always, but I could feel his urge. He came quickly, lying on top of me for a while before sliding onto the side. He looked at me then. It was the first time we were clearly seeing each other naked. Our encounters in the barn had always been in the dark, because we were afraid of using the torch, and we had made love at the cabin only once and in the middle of the night. We had taken the pants of our pajamas off, but now we undressed completely. We touched – our hands stroking each other’s body in mutual discovery. His hands were warm and light, and he moved them slowly, teasing me, starting from my face – downwards on my neck, breasts and sides; moving slowly to my navel and in between the legs, and then down to my knees and ankles, to come back up to my tights. I had never seen a man naked before – nudity was taboo at home. So I was curious, too, and I touched him as he had me, until we were roused again. This time it was slow and I was engulfed by the countless sensations. Finally we collapsed on the bed.
“Welcome home,” he said at last. He rose, stepped to the chair where he had hung his trousers, and rummaged in a pocket. He came back with a small box, and handed it to me. “I had it made a few weeks ago. I wanted you to have it; it’s tradition.”
It was a school ring, but had been made to fit my smaller hand, not his big one.
“Do you think you can wear it until we get married? I’m afraid I cannot afford another engagement ring. If you will marry me, that is.”
It had all been planned – even if no date had been set yet – but he had actually never asked me. He smiled at the answer in my eyes, switched off the light and came to bed.
“I have nothing to give you in return” I whispered.
“Don’t you think you’re giving enough already?”