Love & Sex

My First Time

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Male • 16 years old • South of France

I was on a summer holiday with my parents and little sister, on the Petit Camargue delta — inhabited mostly by horses and flamingos. In a moment of hysteria my mother had booked us into what can only be described as a dole-queue resort, a vast community of mobile homes with a swimming pool, a stage for evening entertainment, and a nightclub open until four in the morning. The days were hot and boring. I would wile away the hours playing pool with my sister.

Because French kids don't generally turn into binge drinkers, or at least they didn't then, the minimum age for alcohol consumption was sixteen. So my nights were based heavily around the nightclub, the doors of which would open around ten p.m. when all the sun-struck parents would waddle off to bed, while their young would begin swigging cheap Mexican lager and vodka-lemonades.

Illustration by Thomas Pitilli

I didn't have much confidence in myself back then. But I was obsessed with girls, and desperate to get some action. On the last night I was sitting at the bar minding my business when this skinny ginger number came up and sat next to me. She looked a lot younger than me. She ordered a snakebite — a pint glass of half lager, half cider with a shot of black-currant cordial. I ordered the same. Her name was Ceri and she was from Wales, a poor village somewhere or other. She was sixteen and she only got fifty-pence pocket money a week. We smoked and smoked and smoked.

Before I knew it we were on a wooden bench near the swimming pool, under the shade of a palm tree. I was stone drunk. All I remember is her saying, "Oh, just bloody kiss me, you twat," in this almost incomprehensible Welsh slur and grabbing me by the head. She tasted like an ashtray. I slid my hand up her mini-skirt and pulled her knickers apart and awkwardly tried to do what I thought I had become quite good at. She was all small down there. She put her small hand down my shorts and jerked at it. We must have been doing this for a good twenty drunken minutes until her impatience got the better of her again: "Come on then, are we going to shag or what?"

We snuck into the shadows and made a break from the resort into a nearby field. It had been freshly plowed, so the surface was all dried dirt and stones. In the moonlight it seemed to go on forever — a vast expanse — like a war zone. We found a spot in the middle of it and she threw me on the floor. She pulled off her shirt and her bra to reveal her little breasts, then flicked away her boring white knickers. I ripped my shorts off and barely had time to think before she jumped on top of me and started grinding at me with her pubic bone, her small tuft of ginger pubic hair scratching at the bottom of my dick. It hurt a bit because she was being so violent. Then she grabbed it and tried to stuff it in, but she was so small, it could barely fit. After a while she succeeded, but I was so drunk and everything tasted stale from all the cigarettes and the rocks were sticking into my back I just couldn't keep the old boy going. I was lying there wishing for sleep, the stars spinning around us. I felt like I'd let the entire world down.

The next morning I had to go look for my wallet in the field (I found it) and when I met up with Ceri she told me she'd lied about her age and some other things. She was actually fifteen, and had a boyfriend who stole her pocket money for fags. So that made me a pervert and a partner to adultery. Woo-hoo.

She sent me letters and kept calling me up over the rest of the summer, but her spelling and grammar were so bloody awful I could barely understand her. And she'd call when bored with nothing to talk about, and it was always when I was with mates so I blew her off after a while. But I still think about her now.