I recalled my first, heat filled fumble with a young lady who shall remain nameless, pressed up against a tree in the Phoenix Park as I tried to reimagine the moment to use in the sequel to Darkly Wood, The woman who never wore shoes. I say lady and of course there are those who might argue that the very fact she was engaged with me in rather unladylike encounter disavows her of that title. I disagree, after all I still consider myself a gentleman and I chalk those teenage experimental transgressions down to the vagaries of growing up.
Looking back, trying to draw on the memory for just a short but important piece in my book, I realised how serious I was and how funny it is in hindsight. It was raining and we had sheltered beneath a big old horse chestnut tree far from prying eyes. I know she kissed me first and it was a wet and warm confused mess of a kiss, which nonetheless raised my ardour and left me blind to almost everything else. My hands held her be-jeaned hips and she pressed her body against me and pulled me close. I think I loved her for a minute as something was happening that I had only imagined might someday happen.
I felt her hand grasp at the blue and white checked cheesecloth shirt that I believed made me look cool, and she slid her small, cold hands underneath and held them still on the burning heat of my lower back. God, in that moment she could have had one leg, a wonky nose and bad breath, I wouldn’t have cared. What was happening to me out of sight would in any other circumstances be an embarrassment to say the least, but she didn’t seem to mind and I know she couldn’t but have noticed. I’m not sure how I caught my breath, but when she slid her hand back and placed it on mine; I know I stopped breathing completely.
She encouraged my hand to explore underneath the folds of her heavy, navy woollen sweater beneath her open raincoat. I was terrified but I slid my hand up and around, touching the soft, warm, naked flesh of her delicate back. My head raced and I was filled with panic. I even opened my eyes to see if she was looking at me, but she was trapped in the fantasy of our embrace.
I could feel a need in her, an urgency that I couldn’t match. It was all happening too fast and I wanted to stop but she reached back again and encouraged my hand higher. When my fingertips met the hard edge of her brassiere strap I almost choked. This couldn’t be happening. But she was relentless and again with gentle pulling and twisting, I found she had encouraged my hand to the front and I held it on her naked belly, suddenly faced with every taboo there was in my befuddled head.
Up until that day I was cruising at a high point of confidence in my life. I thought I knew everything and could handle anything. I was an expert at life. But experts need to be careful. Even Monkeys fall from trees.
I saw my mother and heard her voice. My father loomed in the background and the picture of the sacred heart glared down on me from over the fireplace. ‘Jesus Mary and Joseph,’ I thought and I knew they were not the ones that I needed guidance from in that moment. She pulled me closer and almost broke my wrist, sucking on my face and my jaw began to ache. I thought I was going to explode. This was not something I had prepped for. Nothing had prepared me for this offering and when my hand touched the lower reaches of her breasts, all hell was breaking loose downstairs.
Catholic guilt was a terrible thing, but by God it grabbed me by my throat and shook me. I wasn’t even that religious but my mother, the priests and Christian Brothers between them, had done a fine number on me. I withdrew my hand and pulled out of the kiss. She looked at me as if I had some kind of mental problem. I know she was a good girl, she really was but she was wild about me and I didn’t know back then that girls could be filled with passion too.
But this wasn’t about her. I could only see some terrible, half-baked consequences waiting for me when I got home, with a big guilty head on me through the madness that filled my brain. This was all about me and my own personal inner conflict. I had no clue what to do or say but I remember exactly what I did say.
“We’re goin’ to Salthill in August.”
I have no idea where it came from or what possessed me to kill her passion with such a declaration. It must have sounded as though I was having an internal conversation that I just carried on out loud and she shook her head and pulled her hands away.
She loved me I’m sure, in that teen crush, can’t see anything else except my face in everything she looked at kind of way and I broke her heart for sure when I told her ‘it was all off’ a week later. I had to, it was all too much pressure for me and it was easier not to have to have that stress in my life.
When I think of it now it makes me laugh, but the rawness of the emotion that drawing that memory back to the fore gave me, allowed me back into a place to write a rather tense piece for one of my female characters in The woman who never wore shoes. That is how it happens for me. I didn’t take a piece of my life and transcribe it to the page, far from it. Instead I took the passion, the fear, the trepidation and sheer blind panic that I felt, and used the rawness of those memories as I felt them again to bleed them onto the page.
It makes writing so much fun for me and hopefully, my readers will experience some of the embarrassment and discomfort that I felt at the time to make the scene more real and imaginable. I don’t have sound or pictures to bring my creations to life so instead I use emotion. Luckily, I have lived a foolish enough existence to have a huge store full of cringe, pain, laughter and sorrow to fill a library. The woman who never wore shoes is reaching its climax and I have loved every minute of it. Writing Darkly Wood was enormous fun and I never imagined I could have that much fun writing the sequel, but do you know what? I am…
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : – http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower