True Stories: Sex Ed

I slept with my mother’s best friend — who was also my fourth-grade teacher.

By Reese Ludlow

The first time I slept with my mother’s best friend I was twenty-three-years old. Echoes of our moans reverberated throughout a house that belonged to my parents. We held palms to each others' mouths to keep ourselves quiet. Creaks made by our jostling bodies sprang from the bed where I had slept as a child. We put a pillow behind the headboard to dull the noise. At last — our backs sore, our hands bitten, our bodies slick — Ms. Caruthers whispered how she hoped my mother, asleep less than ten feet away, had not heard anything.

“Even if she did hear us,” I said, tossing a stuffed animal across the room, “she wouldn’t believe it.”

That year I had been living in my family’s beach house and doing almost nothing at all. Since graduating from college, barely nine months before the night in question, I had been a complete mess. I’d worked at a magazine and quit working at a magazine, and I’d worked at a high school and quit working at a high school. I’d lived in New York and moved away from New York, and I’d lived in Mississippi and moved away from Mississippi. Now I was living in Florida working at a resort. My job involved grilling burgers, chopping salads, and frying chicken as a short-order cook at a poolside bar, and my recreation at the beach involved lounging under the sun, reading novels, and swimming through the gulf. In every way I was treading water. Therefore it came as a welcome distraction when my mother and Ms. Caruthers showed up for a visit that particular weekend in the spring.

It would be a lie for me to say I’d never thought about my mother’s best friend in a sexual way.

The affair began their first night in town. I’d known Mrs. Caruthers throughout my childhood. She was a school teacher like my mother, and both had time off for spring break. They said it was a weekend for cutting loose. On the first night of my mother and her friend’s visit, I got home after dark, greeted by the bass lines of Motown blasting from the porch. They had uncorked a second bottle of chardonnay by the time I joined them. Ms. Caruthers said, “Pull up a glass and stay awhile.” I did not mind if I did.

Over the first hour on the porch, I parried the usual barrage of questions concerning my future, specifically whether I’d heard back from grad schools. I had applied to MFA programs earlier that year.

My decision to study fiction writing constituted the extent of my introspection at the time. Creating the lives of fictional characters seemed like a reasonable activity for someone who could not conceive of his own life. Plus, I've always preferred gazing at other people’s navels.

At the beach house, perhaps aware of my distaste for the line of questions, Ms. Caruthers changed the subject by asking me, “Dating anybody special?”

“Um.” Did hairdressers and housekeepers count? “Nope.”

“Somebody will come along soon enough,” she said between sips of her third glass of wine. “Could be under your nose right now.”

“She’s right,” my mother said. “You never know.”

To say I’d never thought about my mother’s best friend in a sexual way would be a lie. Despite our extreme difference in age, I had been attracted to Ms. Caruthers since the night, years ago when she told me I had been in one of her dreams. The only thing she revealed about was that it involved both of us in a hotel room, and casually said it would be inappropriate to go any further. I can still remember the perfect timing of her subsequent wink. My parents didn’t notice a thing.

On the porch, as cool breezes kicking up from the gulf, I drank another glass while squirming in my chair. The conversation had somehow turned to sex. Ms. Caruthers was arguing that it takes very little to arouse a man, saying it was possible to get someone hot simply by touching his hand. I told her, "Yeah, right." My mother chose that moment to excuse herself to use the restroom, joking that we should come up with a new topic before she came back. The sound of the back door clicking shut might as well have been the shot of a starting gun.

She was in her mid-forties, and looked every bit of it.

Ms. Caruthers took my hand in hers, held it to a face twenty-one years older than mine, and wet my palm with her lips. She made a lollipop of my thumb. Years afterward, when a close friend I’d told about the affair met Ms. Caruthers, he said, “I was expecting her to be, like, preternaturally young-looking. But, whoa, man. She is in her mid-forties, and she looks every bit of it.” There, in Florida on the porch, I didn’t think about her age because I was too busy pushing aside my erection with the hand that wasn’t serving as its surrogate.

“Okay, you two.”

Those words belonged to my mother. Although I had intended to listen closely for the sound of her footsteps returning from the bathroom, the “hand job” managed to distract me, unsurprisingly, from focusing on anything other than how much, surprisingly, I wanted to plant one on Ms. Caruthers. Had my mom seen us? I was engaged in wiping the saliva from my palm when my mother inadvertently answered the question.

“It’s getting kind of late for me,” she said with a yawn, picking up her wine glass, oblivious to the world. “Think I’m heading to bed.”

The only thing worse than the fact that later that night I slept with a woman who was my mother’s best friend was that she'd also been my fourth-grade teacher.

Commentarium (44 Comments)

Nov 05 10 - 3:36am

Yup, fiction writing alright. The sad thing is, even if this is a True Story and the author just did a s*itty job of fact checking HIS OWN LIFE, the story still kinda sucks. There's little to no discussion of the "why" of the encounter, and whatever the emotional content was, it sure wasn't discussed effectively. Maybe the author can follow up with "How I Really, Truly Banged My Therapist In the Bathroom of the Burger King I Was Fired From."

Nov 05 10 - 5:36am

Fiction or not, I liked the story.

Nov 05 10 - 8:25am

I'm not normally one to doubt the veracity of the stories here -- I usually am happy to give the author the benefit of the doubt, but how many people write history papers in the fourth grade?

Nov 05 10 - 8:45am

There's some seriously awkward sentence structure in this story. It explains the rejection from Ole Miss, but not the acceptance from Columbia.

Nov 05 10 - 9:04am

I dunno. I wrote "history papers" in the fourth grade, or at least history "paragraphs" about Columbus and stuff. Way to fixate on a little detail, in any case. I liked it.

Nov 05 10 - 9:05am

I was glad he acknowledged that she was 40 and looked 40, and didn't have to pretend that she was some little twig w plastic surgery. Not that there's anything wrong with lookin' 40

Nov 05 10 - 9:58am
Joe smoke? Only gay men..or men with gay tendencies smoke. You sure it wasn't Mr. Caruthers you're talking about here?

Nov 05 10 - 9:59am

Fake. If she were in her mid-forties at the time of this encounter, how could she still be in her mid-forties years later when his friend met her??

Nov 05 10 - 10:07am

At least he wasn't in 4th grade when she slept with him. Married 5 times and not yet 50? Ye gods.

Nov 05 10 - 10:07am

Well, he doesn't say how many years later it was.

Nov 05 10 - 1:57pm

Well, he says that he was 23 at the time. He also states that when he was born, she was 21.

21+23= 44 = mid 40's.

Years later could mean anything from 2 years to 20 years.

Either way, the story was entertaining. Who really cares if it's real or not? Take it for what it is, entertainment.

Nov 05 10 - 2:17pm

yeah, gots to call bullshit.
1. Outside of picking up a STD or unintended pregnancy, who regrets having sex with just about anyone at age 23?
2. who doesn't get into Ole Miss?

Nov 05 10 - 4:03pm

Fake story. Who can't get into Ole Miss but does get into Columbia?

Nov 05 10 - 5:21pm

Makes my life sound like a fake. His characters are true to life. The characters in my narrative are over-thinking and just dumb. I've had come-ons like that... and then over-thought them until the moment was gone.

Nov 05 10 - 7:49pm

Ah, i haven't slept with one of my teachers . . . but i did do so with the wife of one of my professors three years out of college. In a bizarre way, the experience was quite similar. So the story resonated with me.

Nov 05 10 - 11:53pm


Ugh. it has nothing to do with age difference but thats so fucking sketchy to fuck a kid you taught in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Nov 06 10 - 12:24am

This is really poorly written -- not at all up to Nerve's usual standards.

Nov 06 10 - 4:32am

To be fair, vomit, if this did happen it's likely she only wanted him because he was a young verile man who had fantasized about her during puberty, not because he was in her class.

Does that ever happen? Adults falling in lust with children but preserve that lust into their adulthood?

Nov 06 10 - 1:54pm

Yiiiiiiiiiikes. In spite of the awkward attempt to be highbrow, this would be more appropriate beginning with "Dear Penthouse, I never thought it would happen to me......" Oh Nerve. Whomever is approving these submissions just can't tell between fantasy and reality.

Nov 06 10 - 2:38pm

I find it interesting that the very first comment was "Hell in the hell were you eleven in fourth grade?" Now that comment's gone, and line has been revised to nine years old. I dunno about you, but that _screams_ fiction to me.

Nov 06 10 - 6:10pm

Yeah. Nerve originally published the story with the sentence: "In grammar school, the year she taught me, I was eleven years old." Now he's nine. And the comment is gone. Shady.

Nov 06 10 - 11:18pm
Daniel Webster

Um . . . Mississippi, Florida vacation home, Columbia MFA. Looks like Nerve is rebranding Snowden Wright. But it's still just horrible, insipid writing. (Thanks for not dragging Dartmouth through this one.)

Nov 07 10 - 10:48am

Fiction or not, I like it

Nov 07 10 - 4:07pm

I don't understand why everyone immediately assumes this is fiction? Ole Miss's MFA program admits 3-5 ppl a year, while Columbia is closer to 30-50, so it makes sense that someone could get rejected by Columbia and not Ole Miss. Someone mentioned that no one in 4th grade writes papers, but I know that I did--not that they were world class research papers, but papers nonetheless.

@Daniel Webster: I don't know if this is Snowden Wright, but it seems if it is, he used a pseudonym for a reason. Maybe to protect the teacher? Or her two daughters? What you have done, Daniel Webster, by inaccurately dragging an author's name into this publication, is shame a mother, potentially put a school teacher in line to be fired for past misconduct, and embarrass her two completely innocent daughters.

Shame on you.

Nov 08 10 - 8:00pm
Sy Klops

Funny how jealousy makes people cry "fake!".

Nov 08 10 - 9:06pm

Ole Miss doesn't have a creative writing MFA.

Nov 09 10 - 11:53am

Um, I just looked at the Ole Miss list of graduate programs, and an MFA in Creative Writing is indeed offered.

Nov 10 10 - 12:24pm

gross. all of it. no jealousy here - teacher should never be allowed around kids (future lovers) again. such garbage. why is nerve putting this filth up?

Apr 16 11 - 10:25am

Not that I'd personally want to bone someone I'd known since they were a kindergartener, but having sex with someone at age 23 that you knew at age 9 doesn't make you a retroactive pedophile. That's completely ridiculous.

Nov 10 10 - 12:24pm

gross. all of it. no jealousy here - teacher should never be allowed around kids (future lovers) again. such garbage. why is nerve putting this filth up?

Nov 10 10 - 12:37pm

re: jacoby/tobes - JEALOUS!!! but......a little icky, i agree

Nov 14 10 - 2:19am

yeah...this has "Snowden!" written all over it, come on Nerve, really?

Nov 14 10 - 3:08pm
El Ron Hubbardo

Is there a big chunk of this story missing? Page 1 ends with the mother leaving and page 2 starts off with him smoking a post-coital cig.

Dec 11 10 - 6:45pm

Everyone on Nerve always says everything is fake - anyone else notice? Either way, don't care, story's OK but nothing too special

Jan 07 11 - 2:00am

Whether it's true or not, it could've been better written.

Jan 28 11 - 9:56pm

I think Ole Miss = Mrs Caruthers

Mar 08 11 - 2:16pm

The truth is mom and friend visited. He fantasized about boning her but instead had to masturbate. They left end of the week. Now he desperately tries to write his fantasy as non-fiction. Pretty pathetic.

Mar 10 11 - 12:19am

The teacher was a sexual predator. Not the criminal kind. Just the Sex-In-The-City kind. Five marriages! And she farks the kid on the first night, but they never do it again. There is a lot missing from the story in the way of developing the sexual tension between these two. The guy's had 10 years (13-23 years old) to become sexually aware of this woman (I don't count the 4th grade, 9 year old as sexually aware).