Her timing was incredible.
Just when I hovered over the ivory flesh of her vulnerable neck like a vampire ready to suck the life out of her, she tells me she's still a virgin.
My vampire jaws snapped shut on empty air.
A virgin? What the hell is a virgin?
I sat at the edge of her dorm room bed with everyman's dream curled at the other end, both of us lost in a maze of confusion, her innocent eyes blinking so rapidly I could not tell if she was telling me the truth.
I had only heard rumor of such beasts, but had never met one before, something so mythical I could barely breathe.
And then, she hit me with the zinger and said: "I knew I could trust you."
Then she told me she would do anything I wanted.
The room was suddenly cold. A red stop light flashed again and again in my head, telling me that if I made the next move I might be sorry for the rest of my life.
I kept thinking of what other men had told me about making love to a woman for the first time, now they never truly let go, and this one, a Jewish Princess from Fairlawn, looking at me already as if she was attached. I tried to tell myself that I didn't want to spoil such a perfect flower, but in truth I was scared.
I was no collector. I did not want to mount her as a trophy.
I got up and walked to the window. From her window I could see a distant New York City, and remembered my own loss of virginity there so many years earlier, a different kind of red-light flashing outside the window of a cheap East 11th Street hotel, bedbugs keeping the two of us company.
"Look," I told her, "I really can't stay late tonight. Why don't I call you in the morning, eh? Then we'll both have clear heads."
I knew she knew I would never call, and I felt the pain of her stair the whole way out of the building and down the hill to where I had parked in the valley.
Her timing was so right. It was mine that seemed all wrong.