My first time is a blur.
I was nervous and cautious, I think I saw a tear or two in her eye. The old nurse was barking instructions at me, how to get this over there, how I should grip that, and very specifically what goes where.
‘Have you not practiced at home?’ she despaired.
I had, but obviously not enough. Some things you just expect to be good at.
With everything in the right hole I started to move. Slow and steady. Forwards, slight movements to the left, careful gestures to the right. Every now and again I would slow further, even stop for a moment, just the sound of heavy breathing carrying the moment until I would hold mine and start to move once again.
Every bump was magnified, wince inducing. Every screech I heard made me flinch. Half of the people seemed to be watching and passing judgment. ‘That poor girl’.
The other half apparently indifferent, selfishly unaware of the importance of these moments, the rite of passage that was taking place.
I was in constant fear of going too fast, perhaps overestimating my prowess and any discomfort it could cause, all the while equally worried about being far too timid and having no one reach their desired destination.
Eventually, maybe even inevitably, we made it. All of us in one piece, still on speaking terms, just as besotted as before. That nervous first time has been repeated a couple of times now. It’s gotten easier.
There may well be more first times, other girls, but there will only ever have been one real first time.
Driving Miss Mango.