Monday, March 11, 2013

My First Literary Love by Dan O'Shea

My First Literary Love: Amazon Adventure by Willard Price

I guess you should remember the first time. Even if it was just awkward adolescent fumbling, fumbling, then a boundary broached that had been long defended – what was it for her, the point of no return? That her breasts were exposed finally, or that her panties where now linked garters and her mysterious flower bloomed open and witnessed in the dim glow of the distant streetlight that fogged through the sweat-tinted windows of your car? The no’s had stopped. The hands that used to push you away, used to grab your wrists to deny your touch at those last sacred places, they now were grabbing something else, coaxing it, pulling it forward, the surrender complete.

You should have known that surrender was different, the surrender of a friend, the granting of a privilege, of a sacred trust, but you had fought that hormonal war so long, were so close finally to victory, that you pressed your suit like a blitzkrieg that roared past any nicety of foreplay, and she bit her lip the whole time, fought the pain the whole time, whispering “It’s OK, It’s OK” in your ear while she held you, as if she better understood your own unfamiliar demons, knew intuitively the price of her own surrender and still you thrust away, telling yourself that her gasps, her tortured rigidity, that they were the erotic fruit of your prowess, that they stemmed from her pleasure and not her pain, knowing the whole time that you should slow down, should back up, you should begin again as her ally and not her conqueror, but Nirvana was too close, the perfume of that longed for fantastical Elysium scenting the air in her musk, and so you believed your own lies long enough to make those last thrusts, and exploded as much in shame as in pleasure, with her holding you still, with her still saying “It’s OK, It’s OK” trying to make you believe that you had not betrayed her, that you had not crushed that fragile gift that she had so tremulously offered, that you had not despoiled with greed and lust and selfish appetite not only her moment, but your own, a moment that neither of you could have back, that could have been a shared wonder, but that now, for her, would always be an wound of regret and that for you would always be a thoughtless and brutal sin  You should remember that. You should remember your first time.

What’s that Sabrina? Not THAT first time. Sorry. My bad.

Summer camp, southern Wisconsin, July, 1967.  That break they made you take in the afternoon, an hour in your bunk, the stream of activities – of fishing or canoeing or archery or shooting – broken long enough to let you remember that you were still a boy, just eight. That you were countless miles from home, away, your family, from all familiar things, That, as fun as camp was, as capable as you had already become with the mask of machismo, you were still just a kid who missed your mom, who didn’t get a letter from home today, who wanted very much to cry.

But you had the book. Amazon Adventure by Willard Price. A story with other kids, other adventures, rendered so truly, so perfectly to your eight-year-old brain that this rectangle of cardboard and paper anesthetized the pain of homesickness entirely, transformed that dreaded break that had made you prey to your fears into a treasured hour, a refuge in each day, where you could be away from not only your fears but from the stress of being friends with these small, sometimes savage strangers, where you were god of your own universe.

Where you learned that books were magic, a balm, another plane, a realm apart and to which you could transport yourself anytime you liked, and to which you would now always partly belonged.

That was my first time, Sabrina. Not crime fiction, I guess. That came later. But that was my first love, and if I had it here today, I would open myself to it entirely in renewed surrender.  

Dan O'Shea is a Chicago-based crime writer. His debut novel, PENANCE, will be published by Exhibit A on April 30. You can preorder now or snap up his short fiction collection OLD SCHOOL from Snubnose Press if you're looking for a taste. Dan would be handsome for an older gent if he could just stop breaking his nose. 

5 comments:

Elizabeth said...

A post as only O'Shea could do it. Thanks for sharing, Dan, and for hosting him, Sabrina. Great stuff, both of you.

Sabrina E. Ogden said...

Oh, Dan... only you, buddy. I never did get my poem on my birthday. ;-)

David Cranmer said...

Dan is remarkable. A beautiful piece of writing here.

Daniel Oshea said...

Thanks for having me, Sabrina. Sorry to have got all dirty on you. Ah, who am I kidding, you knew EXACTLY where I'd go with this. Admit it.

Christine H. said...

Wow Sabrina, Danny Boy is certainly very descriptive….past & present… thanks for sharing.