One of my friends received a book from her father upon going to college titled, Narrow Make My Bed: A Guide to College Celibacy. We had a good laugh over this given that she hadn't been all that successful with high school celibacy. My friend was a hedonist in the true sense of the word; she didn't have the hang ups about love that most of us harbored in those tender young years. I admired this attitude even if I could never emulate it -- even though I did not entertain fantasies of the big princess-like wedding, I wanted to be in love with my gentleman callers and share candlelit dinners dressed in a flimsy black robe. Not anything that was going to get me into Penthouse Letters, but it passed for romance in Mineral Wells. Perhaps I can start with a clean slate, like Kelly, my friend said. Kelly was a girl we knew who reclaimed her virginity for each boyfriend. She'd have public tortured debates about whether or not to give up the precious flower of her innocence to her latest. She would and the relationship would fall into an abyss of sorrow and keening, and then she'd start up with someone new, very publicly declaring, I'm so glad I saved my virginity for X; I knew it wasn't right with Y.
I admired this slip of memory, and Kelly's unique talent for regrowing her hymen. I looked at Narrow Make My Bed, which contained such bon mots as "Do not take your feet off the ground. Temptation occurs in private when our feet part from the steady ground." The book warned that you could kill your soul by having sex too early with the wrong partner. When I was young, I spent a lot of time thinking about my soul, whatever it was. Many people I knew didn't even believe in the concept. But I suspected while it was harder to lose than your virginity, if you did, you might never ever get it back, and unlike your virginity, you wouldn't lose it all at once. It would leave you in degrees through a leak so small that you'd never see it while it deflated you all the same.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Remember all the little dangers in your past." Jayne Anne Philips
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Black Tickets Jayne Anne Philips
Benedictions and Maledictions