This excerpt depicts a special father-and-son moment between Sam Caldwell and his two sons, Mac and Peter from my newest book, Now and Forever 3, Blind Love. Sam is about to tell his sons how and when he lost his virginity.
“Come on, Dad. Confess. This story sounds too good to pass up,” Peter urged.
“So, you all want to hear a juicy story, do you? I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.” Sam smiled.
The men took their drinks and sat down to listen to Sam. Sam leaned against the arm of the sofa, cradling a glass of tonic.
“Okay, okay. I was eighteen and green as they come. I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia, with a sister and two brothers. My parents worked hard but they didn’t have much money. My father was a postal worker and my mother taught school. We had food and all, but there was no money for college. So I took myself off to the recruiting station and joined the army.”
“Get to the good part, Dad,” Peter urged.
“I’m getting there. Don’t rush me. I had a girlfriend, Linda, in high school. I kept trying to get her to sleep with me, but she refused. After two years of begging that got me nowhere, I washed my hands of her when I went to war. She cried and said she’d bake me cookies. Cookies!
Hah! She still wouldn’t give me what I wanted…which was a good roll in the hay. She had a body…well, it was unbelievable…but you’ll just have to use your imagination,” Sam said, color creeping into his cheeks.
“When I got to basic training camp in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I was a tall, skinny, horny kid who didn’t know much about anything, especially women. But several nights a week, I tagged along to a bar with a bunch of guys who went into Pine Bluff looking for a good time. For the first few nights, I got drunk and sick because I wasn’t used to liquor. After a while, I understood my limits.
“The guys kept getting…finding women. But not me. So they were going to make me a cause célèbre, if you get my drift. The next Friday night, we went to The Sunrise Bar, one of the favorites with the guys because the woman who ran the place, Jeannie, was the widow of a Viet Nam vet. So the guys figured drinking there was like keeping it in the family. Jeannie was a pretty brunette who kept the guys in line by not falling for their crap. They teased her and she teased them back. But no one got to first base with Jeannie.
“That Friday, they all kept an eye out for a girl for me at The Sunrise. None of the girls there were interested in a tall, skinny kid who didn’t know what he was doing when they could go off with one of the experienced guys who had muscles and smooth talk. So it was another lonely night for me,” Sam said, pausing to take a sip of his tonic.
“The next night, I got to The Sunrise earlier than the rest. Jeannie was setting up. She was upset, but refused to talk about it. But I was persistent. Jeannie had always been nice to me and I wanted to help her out if I could. She finally opened up. She had a son, a boy of nine, who was having trouble in school with math. I was a whiz at math, always have been. So I agreed to sit with him and help him for an hour. Jeannie took me upstairs to the apartment they had above the bar. Jeannie’s son, Tommy, was up there, sullen and uncooperative until he saw me in my uniform. He sat up straight at attention. I guess I reminded him of his dad.
“I spent an hour with him. Jeannie was grateful and gave me a couple of free drinks. Before long, it became a regular thing. Every night I showed up an hour early and went to work with Tommy, then I’d go downstairs and get drunk for free. It seemed like a good arrangement.”
“When did you get laid and with who, Dad?” Peter asked, impatiently.
“I’m getting there, Pete. Just hold on. So one night, I stayed until closing. I had missed my ride back to the base and was swearing because I’d have to walk. Jeannie said she’d drive me.
Tommy was asleep and Arnie, her helper, had cleaned up already. I met her upstairs where she was tucking in the blankets around Tommy.
“Jeannie turned and looked at me in the moonlight coming in the window. ‘You’re a good man, Sam,’ she said to me. The moonlight was shining on her dark hair and for the first time, I noticed how beautiful she was. She just stood there, looking at me. She knew I was a virgin because the guys weren’t shy about teasing me about it in front of her, or anyone else. She stepped up close and put her arms around me, pulling me right up against her. I can still remember the smell of her perfume when she kissed me.”
“It gets very lonely here, sometimes,” she whispered in my ear. I didn’t really know what she meant, because I was so incredibly stupid and naïve. Then she took my hand and led me into her bedroom, which she kept locked to keep the GIs out. It was a small, simple but beautiful room, very feminine with heart-shaped pillows, a collection of fancy dolls sitting on a bookshelf and pink walls. Jeannie took off her blouse and skirt and pulled me down on the bed with her. I began to get the idea my ship had come in and I was going to learn all about love from someone who actually knew a lot more about it than I did. I was right too. I was in Pine Bluff for only three more weeks, but every night I went to The Sunrise, tutored Tommy and spent several hours learning about love from Jeannie in that back bedroom.
“The guys kept teasing me because they hadn’t figured out what was going on. After all, what would a beautiful, worldly woman like Jeannie want with a skinny inexperienced kid like me? I let them think what they wanted. What Jeannie and I had together was special, so I kept it to myself.
“I was sorry to leave her, not only because I’d miss the sex, but because I was going overseas and I was scared to death. Jeannie refused to say goodbye. She shut down, realizing she had gotten attached to someone else who’d be going to Viet Nam and maybe not coming back. I think it was more than she could handle.
“I liked and respected Jeannie, maybe even loved her, and it hurt when she refused to see me off. I never forgot the things she taught me about how to make love to a woman. I’m not going
into any of that here, so before you ask the answer is no. She was some woman,” Sam said,
sighing at the memory of her body and her sweet soul.
“What a story, Dad,” Peter said.
The men all agreed Sam had had the most meaningful first experience of anyone. It sure beat a too-quick first time in the backseat of a car leaving a young woman frustrated. Sam felt closer
to his sons, man to man, after sharing his story.
“Are you sure you won’t share any of what you learned from Jeannie with us?” Peter prompted.
“Peter, I doubt you or Mac need to learn anything from me about how to make love to a woman. You both seem to be doing very…no…extremely well on your own. You both could probably teach me something.” Sam shook his head and laughed.
Happy Father's Day!
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