January 1978

Postcard of M/S Kazakhstan

 

It’s really late. My parents are asleep, and they have no idea where I’ve been. Thank God I have my own cabin on this cruise ship. Otherwise, my father would be so pissed right now. I just have to tell someone about the night, but there’s nobody I know well enough here to talk to, no phone for me to call anyone, no friend’s house to run to across the street. Despite all the people here onboard the M/S Kazakhstan, I’m pretty much alone out here in the middle of the ocean. I need someone to talk to and this paper is all there is for me.

I did “it” tonight – lost my virginity to a passenger named Peter. Funny thing is that he is also the first guy I have really even made out with since once back in grade school.  When I do something I guess I really do it. Kiss for the first time and then go all the way a couple days later. He’s just a passenger, and will be off the ship in a few days anyhow.  Then there will be another mass of new people coming onboard. To me, the passengers are a lot like the audience in a long running play.  Like actors, the people on staff play the same roles over and again, with some improvisation based on audience participation. We’re all hired to entertain the paying guests, but the real drama is in the backstage saga playing out from show to show, cruise to cruise.

I don’t even like Peter all that much.  More than anything, I was really mad.  Not at him, but at John, who works on staff with me. I thought we had become such good, close friends on the first two-week cruise of the season.  We spent a lot of time hanging out, laughing, and talking.  Then this cruise, a group of college students got on, and suddenly John has no interest in spending time with me.  It’s like I’m his little sister or something and he can’t be bothered with me now that there are older girls around. But why should he bother with a 15 year old anyway? I can’t compete with them. Peter is 18 and isn’t really much younger than John.  But he certainly didn’t think I was too young.  He says he loves me.  I seriously doubt it after only a week.  I didn’t think I needed to say it back. He didn’t need to say it at all.  I just wanted to hang out with him and his friends and let John see that I don’t need him to have a good time. And then John has the nerve to tell me to be careful.  As if he cares.

Peter and I went for a walk out on deck, and it really was a picture perfect scene.  The moon was bright and lit a long path across the dark water from the edge of the horizon to our spot by the railing where we stopped to kiss. It was warm, the sea was calm, and a light breeze blew the skirt of my strapless black dress, forming gentle waves at my knees. He asked if we could go to his cabin where it would be more private. There was no place to sit, so we lay down on the bottom bunk, which felt like a coffin; the twin sized bed is small, and closed in on three sides and above.  So there wasn’t much room to move or anything. We made out for a while; I think he grew 10 hands, and there were no straps to hold up my top.  I didn’t care. But I really didn’t get THAT feeling… the one I’ve felt before when a guy friend touched my arm or my back or something and it just sent a rush of a tingle right through my whole body. That had happened to me with John last week.  It happened with a guy on staff I worked on another ship with a couple years ago. Neither one was trying to make a move or anything, they just happened to touch me and my body reacted like it had a mind of its own.

So, anyway, Peter was amusing himself with my body parts, and the next thing I know, he’s on top of me, asking, “Can I?” I assumed what he wanted, and said ok. I did not plan it or anything, but it seems like that’s just what people do around here. It’s not a big deal – not like I have been saving it for anything or anyone special either. He had a condom in the drawer next to the bed, so I guess if it wasn’t me it was going to be someone else. He pressed against me, and I didn’t think it was going to happen after all.  The bed has bars for a headboard, and I had my arms over my head and grabbed on tight, because it wasn’t going in easy.  Nothing hurt like I thought it might, but it certainly wasn’t feeling great. I guess I should have been more excited and into it, but what kept going through my head was the song, “Is That All There Is?”  Maybe I’m missing something. Anyway, he’ll be gone in a couple of days and that will be that.  At least I got this over with.

Press to play Is That All There Is? – by Peggy Lee [audiotube id=”LCRZZC-DH7M”]

 

1 Thought.

  1. Hi Jo

    We have never met but I was friends with your mom. I was wondering if you had time to email me I have a question to ask you about her. I was very fond of her and she was one of the greatest woman I have ever known. Look forward to hearing from you

    Best
    Jimmy

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