The guy I lost my virginity to found me on Facebook a few months ago. I opened my inbox to read, "Is this Teri? If so, hit me back." It was an absurdly casual message, as if he had no idea I associated him with puking from anesthesia in the parking lot of an abortion clinic. The shock I felt when I saw the name Jeffery* in my inbox is a testament to how successful I had been at forgetting everything that happened between us.
I dumped Jeff a few weeks before our sophomore year of high school, because, according to my diary he was "bad" and was suffocating me. I was 14. He was a year older. We had met in homeroom four months earlier, after he transferred to my school from a big city in Florida. He was unlike anyone else in my small town—a skateboarder and punk rocker who special ordered his band t-shirts and baggy jeans out of catalogues I'd never heard of. I was fascinated by him.
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Jeff moved back to Florida a few weeks after we broke up and I never saw him again. I also never told him about the pregnancy. I didn't even consider it. There was too much at stake. I come from the rural deep South, where having sex at 14 was just about the most taboo thing I could have done. We were a church-going town—hundreds of kids at my school had signed virginity pacts with God, including me. We punished the girls who'd had sex or even just fooled around by talking about them behind their backs, de-friending them and telling our pastor or their moms. It got much worse than that though: the other girl who had gotten pregnant at our school was sent away to the country (I had no idea where that was, since we lived in the sticks), while her younger sister dodged rumors at school by claiming that the sister was sick.
I never asked Jeff to use condoms, mostly because planning to have sex felt a bit like planning my own exile. Not to mention buying condoms in my town would have easily gotten back to our parents. So, the sex—we liked to imagine—happened spontaneously, accidentally every time. Afterwards we'd just hope for the best.
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