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Today's Story by Caitlin Myer

When I saw him at lunch, I told him I wasn’t a virgin.

Serialization Sunday: Hoodoo – Chapter 20

Every Sunday, Fiction365 presents a new chapter in a previously unpublished novel.  Our first serialized novel, the taut thriller City of Human Remains, can be found in full here

Our current novel, Hoodoo, tells a story of visionaries, heretics and lunatics in Utah, centered on the life of Alice Lott, a twelve-year-old girl  who believes that God wants her to have an affair with her junior high school counselor. 

Find earlier chapters in Hoodoo here.

Chapter 20

Did it show? Did I walk different now? Would anyone notice? Would Dr. Bob? Would he take one look at me and know? How would I tell him? How did I make the next step? I didn’t know, I didn’t know, and I was getting tired, my faith was strong but my flesh weak and all I wanted was Mommy to put her arms around me, Dad to grin and take us all out for ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. That morning, eating corn flakes all alone at the big table, Denny blowing through on his way out, I wanted to grab the edge of his T-shirt and tell him to stay, we needed to stay together, he had to help me save Mom like he did before, when she was trying to dry out, I couldn’t do it by myself.

But I didn’t. Instead I finished my corn flakes alone, went alone to school and walked alone down the hall. And I wondered if maybe I smelled different and maybe I wouldn’t have to tell Dr. Bob, he would just smell it on me and the rest of this would be easier. It wasn’t such a big thing, having sex, I knew that now, it was just like that, just over in a few seconds and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad with Bobby, maybe it would be different, I was sure it would have to be, because we loved each other and it was a sacred thing, what was between us. Maybe it wouldn’t be anything like the smoking boy.

So I got all the way to Bobby’s office door, raising my hand to knock, when I heard voices inside. He was with another student. I’d have to come back later, but instead of turning around I leaned my head against the door, resting my hand on the wood while the voice, it was a girl’s voice, came through, then Bobby’s answering, sounding so warm and understanding, both of their voices caught up and changed inside the wood so I couldn’t hear any words, but wasn’t that how he talked to me? Or was it? I listened harder, concentrating to pick out the words, but no good, and anyway it couldn’t be the way he talked to me, he loved me, nobody else, Heavenly Father wouldn’t allow it. I caught myself shaking my head and straightened up quick. It was almost time for class to start and the hall was getting crowded.

All morning those voices crawled around in my head. Her voice so soft and smooth and pretty. I was locked out of the office and she was inside, winding that white little voice of hers all around him, telling him all her secrets, her dreams, her wishes, telling him she loved him, she loved him more and better than I ever could. How many girls did Bobby talk to in a day? What secrets did he hear, all the time, for years and years? How many girls had he known? Was I really the first?

He said so. He said I was the only one.

But once he knew what it was like, maybe, I don’t know, maybe one of the other girls at school looked better to him. There were a lot that were prettier. Smaller and whiter with turned-up little noses. I could see their faces in the halls, turning up toward him like sunflowers, Bobby shining down on them the light they needed to grow.

They reached out to touch him when he passed, like he could cure their zits or bad hair. Like he could make them popular or smart or beautiful, just by touching them.

I knew how they felt.

But it was when he saw me dance that he knew he loved me. That was it, the one thing I had that was different from all the rest of them. It was my gift, straight from heaven. It was the reason I existed. And, and of course this was hard, if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing, just like ballet was hard, even for me, that’s why when I got something right it was like the millennium, like when the scriptures say the earth is turned into crystal and becomes the Celestial Kingdom. Heaven was right here in Lemuel every time I broke through all the sweat and pain with a needle-perfect, high leap, right over everyone else.

Bobby could see it. He saw it in a very special way. Bobby loved me.

When I saw him at lunch, I told him I wasn’t a virgin.

I was sitting in his office when I said it, in the big leather chair, my shoes off and my legs crossed Indian-style on the seat. He looked at me at first like he didn’t get what I’d said but I wasn’t about to repeat myself and then I think it sunk in, but he just looked at me for a long time and when he finally spoke his voice came from very very far away.


And then, even smaller, even farther away,


I don’t know why but for some reason I couldn’t tell him about the smoking boy, I knew I was on a mission, but he didn’t seem to have any idea. So I lied. That was wrong, I think, but I was scared, and I lied to Dr. Bob.

“It was before. Before, you know, us. With Randall Warner. I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want you to think I was…bad, worse than I already was. Um, than you already thought I was. But then, what you said on my birthday, well, I just wanted to tell you so you’d know it was, you know, it was okay, because it already happened. You wouldn’t be taking anything away from me, like you said.”

“Oh, God. God forgive me.”

He covered his face with his hands, sort of curled over, and I got out of my chair to kneel in front of him. I pulled at one hand, uncovering his face.

Bobby was crying.

I moved closer, but now he shook his head, pushed me gently away with both hands, stood up and moved around to the other side of his chair; he turned away from me, toward his desk. He held up a hand to keep me away.

“Alice,” he scrunched his eyes closed like it hurt him to say my name. He tried again. “Alice. This has to stop right now.”

He was looking down at his desk while he talked.

“I don’t know how I let it go this far. I’m sorry. I can’t ever make up for—I can move far away. Oh, god.”

No no no, this wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

“I don’t want you to be sorry. I want you to make love to me.”

He shook his head, his hands grabbing at the edge of his desk like he was going to fall. His face was bright red, and for a second, I was certain, he looked like he was terrified. Of me.

I opened my mouth, and somebody else started speaking out of me. My voice was strong, sharp, clear. Not me.

“What, are you just going to leave in the middle of a school year? How are you going to explain that? Or do you expect me to just, just stop seeing you? To pretend I don’t know you when we pass in the hall? Are you going to start falling all over some other girl?”

Bobby shuddered and looked up at me. I’d never talked like this in my life.

“You keep saying that you did something to me, that you ruined my life or whatever, but I did it all. It was me, my choice. This is what I want. I made you love me and now I want you to make love with me.”

I was walking toward him and pushed his chair out of the way so I could face him.

“And I lied. It wasn’t Randall Warner. It was someone whose name I don’t even know. And it was just last night. I had sex with a stranger just so you would have sex with me, so you can’t back out now.”

All the color was gone from Bobby’s face, but I was inspired. I was sixty feet tall, the Lord moving in me, speaking out of my mouth, shooting out of my fingers, mouth, eyes. I looked down at Bobby from my amazing height and pitied him. He tried to speak and I stopped his mouth. I washed away his tears. I took his hand and brought him to my mountaintop. I held him close to me until he could feel the Lord moving inside me, and then he couldn’t resist anymore. I breathed in Bobby, filling my skin with Bobby, Bobby turning and growing inside my skin, his arms mine, my lips his and we were the same, I breathed him in and together we breathed out the sacrament, the prayer, the hallelujah that would turn the world to the light shining from the face of God.

And deep, deep inside me, a tiny, distant voice was added to ours, swelling our chorus, so only I could hear, from two to three.


Founder of the Portuguese Artists Colony in San Francisco, Caitlin Myer regularly reads her work at Why There Are Words, Quiet Lightning, and other established reading salons in California.  Her one woman show on Simone de Beauvoir was produced in Seattle. 

Read more stories by Caitlin Myer


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