"My Last Virgin Summer"
"My Last Virgin Summer"
It was the late summer of 1942, I was eighteen, and spending a last holiday before answering the call of my 'Conscription Papers'. I would be fighting for King and Country, whilst still a virgin. The thought embarrassed me.
To others, I was full of self-confidence, the world my oyster. This façade hid the real me: shy, insecure, longing for a girlfriend, lacking courage to pursue one. It was a Saturday: My friend Jim wanted a favor. He'd arranged a date with a girl in a nearby village, and needed to let her know he couldn't make it. He knew I was going to the village that night, and wanted me to take her a present, and explain his absence. I agreed. He gave details of time and place of the meeting, and a description of the girl.
I promised to seek her out and pass on his gift of a third bottle of gin, some lime squash, box of chocolates, and cigarettes. Following tea, I set out to complete my mission. If the bus were on time, I'd have fifteen minutes to travel on foot uphill, the mile to my rendezvous. The bus arrived five minutes early. I bought some fizzy drink and cigarettes, before hurrying to meet the girl.
The meeting-place was on a footpath, which wound with consummate ease along the valley, following the river, fed from streams off the mountain slopes. It provided a delightful view of assorted waterfalls.
Normally, gentle crystal cascades, these waterfalls changed dramatically, following sudden showers; Erupting into boiling, spewing torrents, reaching far out from rock ledges before falling into fully-fledged maelstroms in turgid pools below…
She sat straddling a railing that guarded the adjacent waterfall. It had to be her: dark shoulder-length hair, over-sized almond-shaped brown eyes, white high heels, and gold wristwatch: A broad white belt, held in her trim waist, emphasizing her prominent bust.
I slowed as the distance between us shortened, wanting to steady my breathing after the arduous uphill approach.
She looked older than her given age. It was probably the make-up she wore so skillfully. She was the image of my favorite film star, Gail Russell. I had a crush on Miss Russell; had even written for a signed photograph. Mass-produced no doubt, but it meant a lot to me, frequently providing bedtime stimulation. I became aware the girl had spoken.
"You all right?"
I must have been looking a bit odd. Inside, I was in an emotional turmoil; her looks had completely thrown me. Blustering, I assured her I was fine, then blurted out how much she resembled the film star, adding stupidly,
"But you have a much better figure."
She spoke again in a rich musical voice.
"Thank you kind sir. Sure you're alright?" Her educated voice was a surprise, but in keeping with the rest of her. Not sure how to break the news, I asked if she were waiting for somebody.
"Maybe? Why?" she smiled.
"Well he isn't coming."
Cocking her head she laughed,
"I know. So he sent you instead?" I nodded foolishly. I knew I was blushing. Sliding elegantly to the ground, and standing legs apart, arms akimbo, head held to the side, she stared into my eyes. Her thrusting breasts nigh hypnotizing me as she continued,
"Well if you aren't a one?" Embarrassed, I removed Jim's gift from my backpack,
"I brought you a present." Her eyes widened in happy incredulity.
"I don't believe this? I've heard some chat-up lines but…!" Her eyes moved to the offering,
"And what's this, for goodness sake?"
"Some Gin and Lime, cigarettes and chocolate." She laughed outright.
"From your supposed friend I guess? Well! You certainly are different." Her amiable attitude put me at ease. She soon had the whole story. As I spoke, I marveled at Jim's luck in finding such a peach.
Two soldiers walked by, a girl sandwiched between them had one arm round the waist of each. These had no sooner passed than another couple hove into sight. The young man walked with the aid of a stick. 'War victim', the thought flitted through my mind. The couple was forgotten as Gail spoke,
"Let's find somewhere quiet to drink this. This place is more popular than Piccadilly Circus." I was all for finding some more secluded spot. A combination of thirst from earlier exertions, and dry mouth from being besotted by the shear radiance of the girl before me, made having a drink something of a priority. She indicated the direction to take. This led us up off the track, and behind a hillock running parallel with it, out of sight of those passing below.
"Just how are we going to manage this?" She held the bottles up. I produced my now empty bottle from my pack.
"Good thinking, cowboy. What's your name?"
"Well Frankie, here goes." Pouring half the Gin into the empty bottle and topping it with Lime, she handed it to me. She topped the Gin bottle up with Lime for herself, and held it to clink against my bottle.
"Cheers Frankie." She took a swig and made to sit. Removing my jacket, I spread it. Murmuring thanks, she sat on one half, patting for me to join her.
Other side of the hillock, I could hear the muffled sounds of river and waterfall. The evening light diminished rapidly. Another couple in animated conversation passed unseen below. I gazed at Gail, marveling at her maturity, ease, and naturalness. She was so nice to be with.
Producing cigarettes nonchalantly, I proffered her one. Having both lit up, we sipped our drinks observing each other - I, rather furtively, she, with open frankness and amusement - Night stole upon us.
She chatted freely in her haunting melodic voice, asking where I lived, commenting on my new approach to chatting up young ladies. I told her it was my last weekend before joining the army. That drew another delightfully haunting smile as she softly chided,
"I know, and your next line is that you are a virgin, and want to break your duck before you get killed - the times you lads try that one, ha, ha - And in your dreams I'm an Angel sent from Heaven to assist in the task." I could voice no reply.
It seemed mere minutes from my meeting her to night casting its all-encompassing net. What with drink, and her easy manner, I felt relaxed, comfortable, and unusually euphoric.
The air had chilled, she gave an involuntary shiver, and automatically, we cuddled closer. Where our bodies made contact I experienced a warm glow. My head reeled to the stimulation of her smell and femininity.
She was patently alive to the effect she was having on me; I dared hope I presented some attraction to her. After all, she'd attached herself so readily to me, and was now cuddled alongside. Moment by moment my inner shyness receded, Placing an arm around her, I eased it so my fingers contacted the firmness of a breast. She moved closer. Her moving brought my fingers in contact with the swollen nipple beneath her dress. She responded, snuggling closer. Though fully sexually aroused, lack of experience, and feelings of inadequacy forbade my taking advantage. Instead, I chatted about things in general, and the war in particular.
A break in conversation lapsed into a prolonged pause. Rustles and creaks of nature were all around. The waterfall provided a background of low music. No stars were visible, blocked out by unseasonable overhead fog. In the distance below, a faint glow of red and flickering yellow reflected from this fogbank. It heralded the passing of a train. The muffled metallic sounds of iron wheels on steel tracks invaded nature's sounds. The rhythmic beat grew louder, changing tempo as it sped over the viaduct spanning the valley. The coaches were blacked out. Only the flash of the heated activity of the engine was visible.
I imagined soldier-packed coaches; every seat and corridor awash with tired, khaki-arrayed flesh; For surely it was a troop train, carrying soldiers to training bases on the scarred moors beyond. Each must be contemplating their fate. The train rumbled on, fading into blackness.
I left my reverie to produce another couple of cigarettes. As the match-flare illuminated her features I was aware Gail was crying silently. The match went out - discarded. At a loss how to react, I remained silent, hugging her quietly, in a clumsy effort at providing comfort.
She moved to brush away a tear. Shrugging, she gave a self-conscious laugh, breaking the silence.
"Sorry Frankie, silly of me." I gave no verbal reply, only tightening a protective arm.
Moments of silence passed, then her hand rose to my face, brushing gently, warm against my cheek. I sensed her turning slightly, her other hand rose: Softly, firmly, the movement resolved into a cradling of my receptive features. I felt the warm softness of full lips and a precisely placed kiss, firm, and full of feeling. She fumbled with her clothing, guided my hand to a naked breast.
Low murmurs of approval escaped her as I caressed the warm, firm flesh. I bravely used an exploratory finger to massage the nipple; Her body shuddered, and rose towards me. I felt her legs part, and my other hand being guided between her thighs. Her mouth found mine again, working hungrily, Suddenly I was embarrassingly, unable to control myself. Her voice was urgently reassuring, as she pulled me back to my caressing.
"It's all right Frankie. It's all right.
In the ensuing hour, she encouraged, coaxed, and guided me with delicate expertise into an extended act of making love. To me, on that entrancing summer night, love it surely was. In that period, and as we lay cuddled together, I drifted into euphoria - filled with the knowledge that every part of my being was hopelessly in love with the beautiful female beside me….
Later, I aroused as Gail sat up quickly, exclaiming,
"Goodness Frankie, what time is it?" I struck a match to illuminate her watch,
"Goodness, it's ten to midnight." She rose, dragging me with her. Grabbing for my jacket, I hastened along - still in ecstatic shock - with her guiding us through the stygian blackness. Almost suddenly, the firm flat of asphalt announced our safe arrival on the highway.
Hurrying hand in hand, I could see nothing, as Gail skillfully guided us through the fog-filled blackness. The church clock began its chiming that would end in the twelve strokes of midnight. Gail brought us to a halt, whispered softly,
"I have to go now my love. Thanks for a lovely evening." There followed the soft touch of rich full lips on mine. Then she was gone.
The first midnight stroke reverberated, echoing the high heels receding under the viaduct. I shivered back to reality.
A jumbled multitude of unanswered questions kaleidoscoped through my clearing brain: My first instinct was to chase after those now ceased echoes. Resignedly I turned in the direction of home.
I was never to see my love again. Searching and enquiring high and low gleaned nothing. Nobody knew her, or claimed to have seen her - before, or after that night. To this day she remains a mystery: Was she some holiday visitor taking pity on a would-be soldier? Or indeed a mythical Cinderella, that disappeared on the stroke of midnight into the mists, like some angelic Brigadoon?
One thing is certain: she was my first love, and will ever remain so - though I never knew her name.
As for Jim's Gail - she'd waited in vain at the next waterfall…