Finn opened the door. Finn Lykke opened the door wearing jeans and a freshly-ironed, white shirt, he had made an effort. He gave me a hug and I felt more at ease while it lasted. Unni, Helle and I followed him into the living room which looked much like the living room where we had spent last Saturday except this one was empty, there was no one on the sofa, Finn said that Stein and Lars had gone to get beer; fortunately they soon turned up with bags that jingled with promise and set them down on the table, it was starting to look like a party. We opened the beers and drank and Finn sat down next to me and put his arm around me and seemed taller than the last time we had seen each other and much more relaxed than last Saturday, what a difference one meeting on an ordinary Wednesday could make. They had played an ice hockey match that morning and had won, they said, and they drank to that and clinked their bottles, we all drank to that, and Finn had scored a goal, they said, and described it and I imagined Finn in his ice hockey kit, his helmet and cage and big shoulder pads, how he wove and criss-crossed his way forward, hitting the puck with his stick, slamming it into the goal. I realised that I was more in love with the version of him in his ice hockey kit than the one sitting next to me on the sofa, I avoided looking at him, I drank.
Luckily Lars put on some music so loud that it was difficult to talk, that was the whole point, I guess, he pulled Unni out on the floor and Stein pulled Helle out on the floor and Finn pulled me out on the floor and we danced with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, Lars changed the records and we danced more slowly and we set down the bottles and stubbed out the cigarettes and put our arms around each other and started to make out.
We made out to lots of songs before Finn took my hand and guided me out into the hallway where no lights were on and there, in the twilight, we made out more passionately. He pressed me softly against the wall and slipped his right hand under my jumper and under my best bra and cupped my breast as promisingly as he had done in the playground at Berg College just a few days ago, and after what I thought was nice but long enough, he removed his hand, took mine and led me towards the stairs, then up the stairs, up the steps to the first floor where I assumed the bedrooms were.
I will never forget it, the stairs leading up to what I guessed must be the bedrooms. The carpet stair runner, burgundy with a golden border which didn’t go right to the sides of the steps so you could see the wood, the runner itself was kept in position by thin metal rods in the corners of each riser. How strange, I thought while Finn Lykke led me up the stairs to the first floor that I was on my way to something I would never forget, which would become a chapter in my life, one of the most important. Even before it had happened, I already knew that it would be a chapter in my life that I would never forget, I knew in advance that it would be unforgettable. How strange was that? On my way up the stairs on a burgundy runner with a golden border held in place by thin brass rods in the corners of each riser behind Finn Lykke in his jeans and freshly-ironed, white shirt.
We reached a passage with four closed doors, he walked to the one furthest to the left and I followed with my hand in his until he let go of it, opened the door and turned on the light in what looked like a guest bedroom, it seemed uninhabited. A made-up bed and a bedside table, a window facing the road with the curtains closed, a sink to the left of the door, a chair to the right. He closed the door behind us and started to undress, he undid, without fear it seemed to me, the buttons of his freshly-ironed, white shirt, took it off and tossed it on the chair, bent over his belt and the zip of his jeans, took them off and tossed them on the chair as if I weren’t there, then he took off his socks, first one, then the other and stood in front of me in his underpants, then he took off his underpants and stood naked in front of me with fair pubic hair and blond tufts under his armpits, small, almost inverted nipples, but he didn’t seem to notice me. Suddenly he looked lost and went back to the clothes he had just thrown on the chair, picked up his jeans and searched the pockets and while he was busy doing that, looking for something in the pockets of his jeans, I undressed as quickly as I could in order to do it without him looking at me, I put my clothes on the bedside table, my best jumper, my best trousers, my best bra, my best knickers and socks, I put everything on the bedside table and slipped under the bedspread and the duvet while he was still rummaging around his pockets for something without saying a word, in a great silence. I lay under the duvet, watching him, naked, with fair pubic hair and blond tufts under his armpits, then he found what he was looking for, a condom, I could see, which he tried to open, but couldn’t. He tried to tear off the wrapper, but he still couldn’t, he had to use his teeth to finally get it out and then he tried to put it on, but failed because he didn’t have an erection, his small, pale, flaccid penis dangled between his thighs. I turned carefully and slowly towards the wall so the bed wouldn’t creak and draw his attention to me, but my ears pricked up when I heard the snapping of rubber and his breathing, his frustrated breathing because he couldn’t put on the condom. Then I heard him approach the bed, he came towards the bed in which I lay and he lifted up the duvet and climbed in and lay down behind me, leaned on his elbow and touched my shoulder in order to turn me over. I turned over voluntarily, I rolled onto my back and he kissed me and got on top of me and started moving his hips in the way men do during sex, as I had seen in Unni’s dad’s porn magazines and his blue movies, and which I had so often imagined and dreamed about, except Finn wasn’t inside me. I didn’t know much, but this much I did know because I used tampons when I had my period and knew what it was like to have something inside me, and he wasn’t. His head slumped over my shoulder, his panting wet mouth brushed my neck, he moved his hips as men do during sex, except this wasn’t intercourse because he wasn’t inside me, I didn’t know much, but this much I did know.
I whispered to him that he wasn’t inside me. Finn, you’re not inside me, but he didn’t seem to hear me, he was wrapped up in himself, his panting breath against my neck, the back of his neck flushed and tense. Finn, you’re not inside me, but he carried on thrusting his hips against mine, he leaned on me with all of his body, with his whole weight, with his face in the nape of my neck and his hair in my mouth. Finn, you’re not inside me, but he still didn’t hear, he panted and groaned and pushed, then he suddenly stopped, raised himself up on his hands and swung his legs over the side of the bed, he got up and stood in front of me, he still didn’t have an erection and the condom slipped off. He bent down, retrieved it and held it up to the light from the ceiling lamp to study it, went over to the sink, turned on the tap and filled the condom with water, he held it up to the light once more and examined it to make sure it hadn’t burst, he said, so he did know that I was there. He had filled the condom with water and held it up to the ceiling light to see if there was a tear or a hole in it, but it looked intact.
I sat up slowly and swung my legs over the side of the bed, I took the opportunity to get dressed while he checked if there was a hole or a tear in the condom he had put on his penis, which hadn’t been inside me, my best knickers, my best bra, jumper and trousers and socks and I tiptoed to the door, I put my hand on the handle and turned to him and said that I was going to join the others. He glanced at me and nodded, busy with his own stuff, the condom. I walked down the stairs I had only just walked up so filled with anticipation, on the burgundy stair runner with the golden border kept in place by slim gold- coloured metal rods at the corners of each riser, on my way down from something I would never forget, which would become a chapter in my life, a defining moment. I could hear music from the living room, soft and romantic, the others were making out in the corners of separate sofas, but they stopped when I came in and they looked at me curiously, Helle and Unni with grave and solemn faces, I smiled cautiously and sat down in a vacant corner and could feel their eyes on me, but I didn’t say anything, there wasn’t much to say, after all, there was nothing to tell. Then we heard footsteps on the stairs and in the hallway, and soon afterwards Finn Lykke entered the living room, nicely dressed in jeans and a slightly crumpled white shirt and made a beeline for the sofa where I was sitting, he had a smug smile on his face and his gait was like Unni’s when she walked into the playground in the morning after spending the previous evening with Lars behind the bus shelter after the Workers Youth League meetings. Finn entered the living room and walked towards me with his new, casual swagger, as proud as a peacock, sat down next to me, put his arm around my shoulder and whispered in my ear: Now I’ve made a woman of you.
And that’s how I became a woman.
Image © Dani C