experiment with a girl
by Nathalie

The first year I attended a public school I became spiritually independent. Since I didn't get along with my mother, I reached for a girlfriend. I met Caroline at the Normandy house that my parents rented from my aunt. Caroline fascinated me. At first we compared our bodies. We had a dress code for socials and for sports. We played tennis and became members of the expensive Beach Deauville Club. We'd meet new friends and read tarot cards. We believed in Greek gods, posters and celebrities.

We spent several hours tanning with an aluminum reflector, oiled up from head to toe with suntan lotions and gels. In Deauville, the Film festival plays the movies that have been selected in Cannes during the month of September. It's a big event for the French. At the beach, restaurants and boutiques lay a path designed for pedestrians. Some will stay all day sitting at a paid slot to watch the celebrities walk by, hoping that they could be noticed and hired for a short role in an American film. It's a select crowd that involves lots of artifacts. The famous path for the promenade of the celebrities is named Les Planches: "The Wooden Stage". Now, construction and cramped buildings invade the area. The Royal Hotel rules over the sea, and its casino above invites all game lovers.

My father often won weekends at the Royal Hotel. This marvelous palace has a central courtyard with a tiled pool, a casino and a movie theater with passages of antique Greek columns. A street entrance opens to the theater. Across the turnaround of orchids, tulips and gardenias, the sanded road leads to the sea. On rainy days, we would rush to the theater. We walked like princesses with an attitude. If a boy we liked spoke to us we consulted him with a questionnaire to see if he'd fit. He would leave tired like he had gone to a job interview, then we would find a place to meet in the evening.

We spent money frivolously but we had closets full of clothes. Caroline and I had divided the beach into good and evil. My aunt's house was somewhat creepy. It had three floors. Like her apartment, she liked everything in threes. The house had a pointed roof and cracked walls. One time, we saw an old woman carrying some herbs from the market on a bicycle and named her Flocs, the witch.

We went to the public pool and we touched in secret by the changing rooms. We never kissed. We touched our developing breasts. We compared our bodies. We were discovering exciting and erotic attractions to each other, things as we said that boys could not do because boys are brutal, insensitive and immature.

Sometimes, we invited other girls to our games. We would meet at the aquatic center in downtown Deauville. The game was to race swimming and the loser had to take her clothes off. We'd give her a grade. At the house's basement, Caroline showed me a trick. Her pleasure center rubbed against mine, we would achieve safely an orgasm. We only did it once before a first relationship with a boy would take place. It was as if the power of our complicity could win over boys sexuality, violent inhibitions.

The last memory I have of Caroline is in Paris. I dwelt upon saturation as I see her leave the small room. I have a feeling we won't meet again. I think about our game. She invites another girl to stay for the night. They'll play while I watch. Caroline softly caresses the girl's breasts. Soon, she is sucking her nipples. The girl lays back; her legs are now spread on the bed. Caroline kisses her everywhere. She reaches the girl's pleasure center, letting her tongue move passionately. I then enter the game but I refuse to be touched or receive. I named the threesome "Experiment with an Unknown Girl".

I kiss the girl's lips and her lolos. She's so excited now and she keeps saying "Oui, ici" (yes, right there). She grasps the sheets looking straight ahead as if the wonders of pleasure could bring her to the heavens. Caroline now licks her faster. Her tongue goes as far as it can inside the girl. She becomes ecstatic. When the game ends, we depart. We'll never meet again.

The city lights declared proudly a past with a history. I walked to the closest caf*, and the pollution is unbearable. Multitudes of small vehicles swirl enhancing the diesel in the air. I kept my journal, bemusing photographs, and my memory is going through a vortex of many faces that brings flashbacks. Caroline was a sign in my early teenage years but also a necessity. I try to forget about her but I never could. I remember the experiment with the unknown girl. I tried to conform to what society says we should be, or look like. We have to resemble the perfect magazine picture. We have to belong to a group or a church, live for tips and fake smiles.

We're supposed to say thank you each time we get slapped, and that's still not enough. We could die and that's still not enough. As teenagers, it seems that everything is permitted and forgiven. Sometimes we hurry too much and we end up with a sign for ten years or more. Macaroni and cheese served at the table. It repeats.

As adults, we hear that we have to try to look like teenagers again. My brother has a picture of me when I was twenty. I looked ready for conception but I smoked cigarettes. I lived the Paris night life with full acceptance. I frequented the clubs and the sophisticated restaurants. I created a superficial dream.

I tell Caroline about the power of friendship and those who shared immortality. Is pleasure immortality? My eyes fix on the Chagall painting. I see the woman dancing under the light globe, the moon. She dances in joy and I grasp a message. I work the signs. I'm not afraid. I got hit, too. I had my share of macaroni and cheese, and two husbands. I want to dance like the woman in the painting. In the dream, I fly over sparkling dust and I can see other planets. Images of heaven expose a plethora of models, an exhibit of paintings, people gather and they're happy. I hope Caroline could join me. I watched her with the unknown girl in the room. I don't believe that voyeurism is then a pernicious trait of sexuality. It is an intentional truth and positive expression of what we often need to let be seen.

2000 Nathalie