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The Rosebud Position Paper

Lorrie was a virgin when I met her. At least that’s what she said. The topic came up when she was writing an essay about a poem by some dead guy named Herrick. Lorrie, the way she put it, “wasn’t gathering rosebuds ‘til she was good and ready.”

And that was fine with me. Well, not fine. Virginity can be dealt with, but I didn’t want the responsibility of, um, taking the most precious possession a girl has (that’s what the Sisters taught us)—or, to be short about it, popping her cherry.

Of course if someone else did it…well, it wouldn’t be my fault. That’s what I told myself, anyway.

Lorrie had her favorite study place, a carrel on the third floor of the library on the far side from the elevators. That’s where I did my work-study job. I kept every book in that section in perfect order. I checked The Library of Congress number of each volume and pulled each book forward to the exact edge of its shelf. When I finished, the shelf I’d tidied made the others around it look sloppy. While I was working, I’d look over at Lorrie and smile. She’d smile back and return to her book.

Sometimes she’d look up, stare at something invisible on the ceiling. While she zoned out like that, she had a habit of crossing her legs, letting her shoe dangle, and jiggling her leg. I swear that I tried not to think about her masturbating. The shoe I remember best was a red pump.

She’d catch me looking at her and laugh out loud, then cover her mouth and finally hold an index finger up over her lips as if shushing herself. And she’d stop jiggling her leg.

You could tell where I’d been working because the books were all on their shelves perfect. If some one messed with them, I’d have everything straightened during my next shift. It wasn’t easy keeping my work all on that floor. I brought in a lot of doughnuts, the best I could do in the way of bribes.

Even though I was a freshman, I had connections. My roommate’s cousin was a ZBT, short for Zeta Beta Tau or Zillions Billions and Trillions. The kid next door was on the football team. My Resident Advisor was a junior Phi Beta Kappa. One of them was bound to be her type. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t come straight out and say, “I need someone to fuck her ---just once (ok, two, three times tops).”

No, I just mentioned how, where I worked in the library…a phrase here about her hair, another about how her sweater shows a sliver of skin when she stretches, a suggestion about a geometric blue tattoo in the small of her back (or sometimes I said just below her beltline, a butterfly). The tattoo was a lie, but I thought it was incentive. I told the RA flat out that she had a gold navel ring. I didn’t exactly say she “did it,” but I left out the rosebud position paper.

From my vantage point in the stacks or crouching behind the cart of books, I watched them all court her. I pushed the cart to the best place to listen in. Nobody pays much attention to the guy shelving books. But Lorrie knew I was there. I could tell. Sometimes she left with them and ducked her head down so that her hair fell over her face when she walked by the aisle I was in. I’d watch her toss her head to shake her hair out of her eyes, and once a ZBT actually brushed it off her face himself while they walked. I wanted to deck him.

We’d still talk, though not as much. To tell the truth, I began to feel a bit like a stalker. I didn’t hang around her dorm or anything, but I did go to the parties where I knew she’d be. I’d grab a beer and pretend to be having fun while I kept tabs on her.

If she went to one of the bedrooms, I’d find an excuse to go upstairs and hang around the bathroom until she came out, and I’d try to tell if she’d crossed the line. I figured if she was in there for more than an hour--that was it. And I studied the guy’s face to see if he looked pissed or pleased.

I needed a project for psychology. I considered doing something on the correlation of duration-of-stay-in-a-bedroom-at-a-fraternity party and class standing. I abandoned the idea when I realized I couldn’t get enough data, but I figured I could use it as an excuse if someone asked me what I was doing hanging out up there. No one asked.

My RA did say, “Thanks, kid.” At least the bastard ought to know my name.

My plan was that I’d email her during the first week of the next semester. Ask for a date. Something away from the library. I could ask her about her term paper on Herrick. And on, maybe, our fifth date I’d nail her. Guilt free.

I never figured she’d come back to school wearing a ring with the smallest diamond I’d ever seen. Her fiancÚ’s a senior at State. One of us is a lucky man.

(c) 2005 Miriam N. Kotzin. "The Rosebud Position Paper" was published in Twenty 1 Lashes, Winter 2005-2006.