Wednesday, August 7, 2013

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Double Life



I was seventeen. Madison and I had been having sex for a year, and during that time I continued to practice Mormonism. I went to priesthood meeting, Sunday school, and monthly Young Men’s (once a month outing for LDS young men). I blessed the bread and water of the sacrament. My life continued like it always had, only it now had sex in it twice a week.
On Sunday I sat through sermons, dressed in a white shirt and a black tie. The Sundays where the law of chastity was not the topic at the pulpit were my favorite. I compared myself to people who had trouble with jealousy or anger and thought about how good I was doing. Sure, I had this little problem with sexual sin, but at least I didn’t have road rage. Sex was just a thing I was into. I could drop it easily if I wanted.  The problem was I didn’t really want to. In the moment, sex was amazing. It was only during the drive from Spanish Fork to Provo that I really thought about my actions. Driving in the dark of I-15, my body spent, I thought about Mormon Temples and wondered if I’d ever set foot in one. I thought about a two-year Mormon mission and wondered if I would ever be worthy to serve one. I thought about Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, and Outer Darkness. But what scared me the most was the thought of getting Madison pregnant. During my drives home I often raised my eyes to the Lord and asked to not be blessed with a baby.
As we continued to have sex, the fear of having a baby increased. I became obsessed with the possibility of condom failure. I knew that women whose partners used male condoms experienced a two percent per-year pregnancy rate with perfect use and a fifteen percent per-year pregnancy rate with typical use. I wondered if we were using the condom correctly. I thought about the fifteen percent who didn’t, who they were, and wondered if I could end up becoming a statistic.
My real fear was Madison. I knew that I couldn’t marry her. My grandmother described Madison as “nothing but trouble” and often told me that she was a “bitter little shit.” As usual, Grandma was correct. Madison’s personality didn’t have much varnish. She screamed at traffic and coworkers, friends and family. Jessica was one of my Pizza Hut coworkers who often joked with me as we made pizzas. Madison threw a chair at her head because she said Jessica was “a dumb cunt that shouldn’t be flirting with my boyfriend.” Despite her craziness, Madison was my first everything—girlfriend, kiss, and lover. I felt warm inside when she held my hand or wrapped her arms around me. All of these firsts created strong emotions. I feared leaving her because I didn’t know if I would ever feel this way again about someone else. Other girls didn’t talk to me because they were too terrified that Madison would throw a chair at their heads. Over time I began to assume that I would never find another lover. I was scared to leave her and I was scared to stay, but most importantly, I was scared that if I got her pregnant I’d feel obligated to marry her because I didn’t want to abandon a child like my dad had abandoned me. The thought of walking out on my own child made me sick to my stomach. It still does.
After sex, when Madison was between my arms, I always asked if she felt pregnant or when her last period was. And Madison always said that I was “ruining the afterglow.”

Things grew more intense when Madison’s father discovered that we were having sex. One evening Bruce and I sat in Madison’s living room. It was overcrowded with storage containers and half built wooden projects, the floor littered with dirt, cereal, paper scraps, grease stains, and sawdust. Bruce was clean-shaven and shoeless. Moments earlier he’d asked if we could have a chat, alone.
“Madison tells me you two are having sex,” he said.
I wanted to say, “No, no, we would never do that,” or some other cliché statement that teenage boys say when their girlfriend’s father confronts them. But before I had a chance, Bruce told me that it was wonderful. That he had no problem with what we were doing. “Feel free to spend the night whenever you like,” he said. “Just keep the noise down.” He raised his eyebrows. “We support all of our kids in having sex,” he said. “It don’t bother us one bit. But there is one condition.”
Bruce paused for a moment, and I leaned closer. The whole situation seemed too good to be true. Bruce admitted that he and Linda wanted a grandchild.
“You don’t need to marry Madison,” he said with a chuckle, “Just knock her up. Can you do that for me?”
I didn’t say yes or no. This was the weirdest request anyone had ever asked of me. There was no way in hell I was going to get Madison pregnant. But at the same time, my own desire to continue having sex seemed to fog my full understanding of the situation. Part of me was happy that Bruce was okay with what we were doing. It meant we could get away with having more sex. And part of me found it sick and wrong that he wanted us to have a baby at sixteen years old. As he looked me in the eyes, I felt terrified. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. After what seemed like a long time, Bruce stood, shook my hand with a firm business-like grip and said, “You just keep doing what you’re doing.” Then he smiled and left the room.

Sex became easy now that we knew Madison’s dad approved. No sneaking around in the back seats of cars, or hiding next to the lake. We could have sex whenever we wanted. For the first month of us dating we would still go out to a movie and dinner. Then we would go back to her house and have sex. After about six months we dropped the dinner and movie and just had sex. I would be at her house for three hours, and we would do it four or five times. 
Once, as I left Madison’s house, Bruce was sitting on the living room sofa licking peanut butter off a spoon. “You’ve been humping my daughter for weeks and I still got no grandbaby,” he said.

Grandma said I could only see Madison Thursday nights. But if I told Grandma I was meeting with the Boy Scouts, I could see Madison on Tuesday, also. Madison met me at the door. She was dressed in a blue hooded sweatshirt and baggy jeans, her red hair curling once before it hit her shoulders. She was smiling. I followed Madison down the hallway to her room that had blue walls and images of the Pooh Bear. We got undressed, Madison’s lean body coated with freckles. I grabbed a condom from the nightstand and she gripped my wrist.
 “We don’t need that,” she said.
I opened the condom and told Madison that we were seventeen, why would we want to have a baby? “How would we take care of it?” I asked. “We work at Pizza Hut.”
We both had acne on our faces from oven-baked cheese and dry knuckles from sanitizing hand wash.
“Asshole,” she said. “Just give me a baby.”
I placed the condom on the dresser, sat on the edge of the bed, and reached for my pants.

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