Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith
he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her.
And Amnon said unto her, arise, be gone. (Samuel 13:15)
I know how you looked at him, in his M.G. Roadster, how you turned your face toward him, laid your hand upon his thigh as he drove to Salt Lake City. I saw that look, that reach and touch, in the Jordan High School auditorium during “Oklahoma” – Winter, 1957. How could you forget? You looked so thrilled! I remember with whom I sat and where I sat in misery, two rows back. I know what you wore to the party at his place. This was 1958 when pretty girls wore dresses: A pretty dress for him. I know how you took your drinks, a little booze with lots of cola, the gentle buzz that followed. He brought to you another drink before each drink was finished. You knew what he was doing, what he expected later. You knew that you would follow to his bed. For now, your magic worked the room as you chatted up the girls, charmed the men, became the one each wanted near. You told how good it felt to party, to be with a man who did not make your cold flesh crawl, to not pretend attraction and affection. You stole glances at him, was caught and blushed and looked away. He dimmed the lights and you danced to Nat King Cole, Sinatra, Crosby, Como. When it was late and others gone, you didn’t say, “Take me home,” you stayed and danced with him. He undid the snap and removed your bra with a flick of one deft hand. How slick! You felt mastered, you liked feeling mastered. In his bed, you worried about innocence: Could you please him? You tried a trick mentioned by your sister. It didn’t work. You couldn’t get the timing right. Then, he was finished . . . He was finished. You thought, “Is that it? Is that the big to-do?” Frightened by his indifference, you inched close and touched his chest. He was through with you. You had too much to drink. You had to pee. You asked: “Will you save my place in bed?” On your way to his commode, guilt came in a rush with semen streaming down your legs. You felt shamed, cheap, used, dirty. You grabbed toilet paper by the handful to clean his sticky, smelly mess. You hurt. You needed to be held and loved. Outside the bathroom door, you saw him standing, clothes in hand, waiting to take your place, to dress, to leave. He thought no more of you. He thought of time. The sun would be coming up before he got you home and him back to his mother’s house and to his childhood bed.
You broke the awful silence in his pretty, sporty car:
“Do you love me?”
He looked contempt.
Today, I ask: After more than fifty years, why does your voice fall to its love tone whenever you say his name now and then? You answer: Have you listened to your voice when you say “Sara”?