Gary Rinsem

Not what you think
Maybe a little

Written in 1974, it was based on my very first ever journal entry, the start of everything I've ever written. It's been edited a few times over the decades, but it still represents the memory I wrote when I was 15. At 61 years old I still have a great many extremely vivid memories of her. This journal is mostly descriptive because that's what it's doing, describing those vivid memories as I relived them.
It must have been dark when we left home because of how early in the morning it was when getting to the lake. It was Wednesday Aug 16, 1972 and the family planned to camp at the lake until Sunday. At the campsite my mother spent two hours constantly yelling at me as we set up camp. It continued while we fixed and ate breakfast, then washed the dishes. She wasn't making anyone else's life miserable, only me. With the dishes done my father and brothers were each off on their own adventures. I wasn't allowed to leave, she wasn't done yelling at me. Left alone with her, I sat with my head down on the picnic table quietly crying as the abuse continued. Time passed before I raised my head and saw a pretty girl on the path that ran along the edge of the campsites. She was staring at me and it seemed she'd been there a while. She got excited when our eyes met and began frantically motioning for me to follow her. Rushing down the path she quickly disappeared beyond the tent at the next campsite. My frame of mind didn't allow me to acknowledge the event. I put my head back down on the table, trying not to cry, convinced I had five days of camping misery ahead of me. A few moments passed when I realized... it wasn't some strange vision, it wasn't my imagination, a beautiful girl was begging me to follow her. I rushed to the edge of our campsite and peered around the neighbors tent. Unseen by her, I watched for a moment. Her body language was frantic, her feet couldn't stand still and her arms kept moving wildly. It confused me trying to guess what she wanted. I stepped onto the path from behind the tent. Frustration was immediately replaced by excitement. She frantically motioned for me to come to her. She only said "Let's go for a hike." Leading past the campsites and into the forest we finally exchanged names. She wrapped her left arm around my waste and pressed against me as we walked. It wasn't a casual hike. She had a destination planned. Stopping at a flat rock, her destination, she said she wanted to sit and talk. Sitting close, arms around each other, I was enthralled by the sensation of her breathing and the feeling of her speaking as she hit me with question after question. I'd never been in this situation with a girl. She telegraphed the answers she wanted to each question. She said: "I'm 16 and I'm starting sophomore year at Marcos De Niza. How old are you?" I was 13 and didn't know what "sophomore year" meant. I answered: "I'm 16 and starting sophomore year at Saguaro High School." It was the only lie I told. All her other questions, the truth was the answer she actually wanted. Her final question was: "I'm a virgin, are you?" Answering yes caused her to jump up off the rock. Tugging at my hand she said: "Hurry!" Excited beyond belief and on a new mission, she dragged me through the forest and part way around the lake where everything about her changed. She committed to a decision, but chickened out when we got close to her new destination. It was a long slow quiet hike back to the busy side of Woods Canyon Lake. None of what happened stood out as odd or unusual to me, not yet. I was far too excited by a beautiful older girl wanting to spend time with me. Talking and walking, a few hours passed when each returned to our families for lunch. The afternoon was a repeat, walking, talking and exploring the lake. Thursday and Friday were more of the same, except... kissing and intimate fondling were introduced. I'd been at third base once, a year before. I'd been to second base three times with three different girls. Ready for a very long time, I was now fixated on home plate. Early Saturday morning she was orbiting our campsite as the family had breakfast and did the dishes. I didn't look for permission, just ran off at the first opportunity. Once again headed for the interview rock, she led me through the forest. In an instant as we talked, her demeanor changed. She re-committed to the plan she had chickened out of on Wednesday morning. She was on a mission once again and the plan involved me. The hike became a forced march with little communication. I found myself on the far side of the lake where she'd brought me on the morning we met. She stopped suddenly and bent over in front of a large pine tree, picking up a heavy wool blanket. As she spread the blanket on the ground I noticed a ten foot square patch of forest had been cleared of debris and leveled. Her blanket nearly covered the area. With a very big happy smile, she stepped onto the blanket and kicked off her shoes. All of my questions and confusion evaporated as she unbuttoned and removed her shirt. With the blanket once again neatly folded and leaned against the tree, we calmly walked together, back around the lake. For several hours she talked incessantly about a three year quest to loose her virginity. The story fascinated me and explained the odd events I was just beginning to see as odd. When she was my age, girls she knew began telling of losing their virginity. The stories terrified her because something awful happened in every event. Three years later she had a long list of hellish things that might spoil her experience. She believed, and numerous times stated, that losing her virginity was the most important event that would ever happen in her life. She'd been terrified and backed out of other chances, leaving boys frustrated. One of her fears stemmed from stories of boys telling everyone they had sex with the girl, ruining the girl's reputation. There were many similar "after" fears. A boy at the lake would have no opportunity to spread rumors in her neighborhood. Her family got to the lake on Tuesday, a day before mine. She had a plan. She'd decided that "boys go camping, that's what they do." She believed she'd have many boys to choose from and wanted a close place to take them, one by one, to be interviewed for suitability. Her first step was finding the interview rock. It had to be close to the campground so she could quickly dump the failures and grab another to interview. That was step one in her plan. I've often wondered, did she envision a line of boys waiting their turn? The forest floor is covered in sharp rock and large pinecones and twigs and branches and... what you don't find is soil. She spent her first day searching until deep into the woods on the far side of the lake, she discovered a low patch of ground where dirt had been washed in. One of her fears couldn't happen if the boy was laying on his back. Not optional, the boy had be on the bottom and it was her job to make it comfortable for him. With bare hands she dug out the rocks and tossed all the debris off to the sides. She used her feet to scrape away the highs and fill the lows, determined to create a comfortable place for the boy. Blanket leaned against a tree, she was off to start interviewing the prospects. At this point in her story she said to me: "Gary, where are all the boys? Boys go camping, that's what they do. Why aren't there any boys here?" She spent Tuesday afternoon and evening looking, but didn't find a single boy near her age. Disappointed on Wednesday morning, she ran to see who might get out of the car driving through the campground. A quick look and she decided my brother was too old. He was exactly her age but not a virgin, so he didn't meet her requirements anyway. Another fear from another girl's story involved the boy being mean to the girl afterward. She decided a boy with a dog would be kind. I stepped out of the car holding a leash to a poodle. One requirement passed with 50 questions remaining. I learned in the years that followed... the actual event was most unusual, unheard of, far beyond rare. It was the three year fear-induced storybook fantasy of a 16 year old girl. She orchestrated every step, not just the event, but each moment of four days we were together. I doubt it had any real impact on my life. I'd have been just as happy with a quickie event that was barely sexual. Yet somehow... through repeatedly emphasizing it... aside from the event she impressed upon me the notion that this was to be the most important day of my life. In truth, it was a spectacular coming-of-age for us both. It was tender, romantic, gentle, caring, erotic and sexual. It lasted more than 30 minutes with a constant state of heightened awareness. Spectacular may be an insufficient description. Still, it wasn't the event which made the major impression... it was hours listening to her story leading up to this day. Telling horror stories she'd heard, citing each as the reason for one of her interview questions, made me realize our experience was exceptional. Not completely convinced, I spent years as an adult collecting as many stories as I could. I never once heard a truly happy and fulfilling story of a woman's coming-of-age. The vast majority were pure horror. For several hours she was determined to create in me the same impression she had. That this was an unbelievably special case and the most important event of our lives. She had a reason for it. She knew her hope of me following the final part of her plan, relied upon it being insanely special to me. She insisted that every year at the exact time, we would both sit under a tree and remember each other for at least five minutes. I'm 61 years old and I've never missed a year. I promised her when I was 13. Her plan worked. Late Saturday afternoon we read a bulletin board notice telling of a lecture scheduled for that evening. A forest ranger would be talking about birds of the Mogollon Rim. We agreed to meet, but planned to sneak off in darkness to revisit our blanket. Another visit was planned for Sunday morning. Off we went, back to our families for a few hours, expecting another wonderful experience that evening. On arrival at the amphitheater I found her sitting with a woman. She obviously made the mistake of telling her mother about the lecture. As I approached she frantically motioned for me to ignore her. I quietly took a seat behind. Throughout the lecture I casually slid my hands under her arms and around front, fondling her. Sitting next to her mother made it very exciting. When the lecture ended her mother walked off into the darkness. She spun around and stared at me a moment. I saw a look I didn't understand for a long time. It was pure sorrow. In that instant, with only inches between us, her eyes continually flitted around my face. She was trying to memorize my appearance. She stood and followed her mother into the night. I thought we still had Sunday. Sunday morning she wasn't orbiting my family's campsite. When I got away I searched the lake for her. I finally examined every campsite and ruled out each one. They left earlier than planned and I was unbelievably sad. Determined to have it, I hiked around the lake but the blanket was gone, telling me she'd already made the hike that morning. I sat alone in her clearing, the comfortable spot she worked hard to create for me. All the years since 1972, I've constantly wished there had been a way for her to cut it, leaving half the blanket for me. Countless random times the phone has rung and the thought that it could be her filled my brain with happiness. I was disappointed regardless of who was calling. We got cheated out of two tender and caring events together. We didn't even get to hug and say goodbye. It's always been an open ended relationship for me, incredibly happy and incredibly sad. I smile when I cry over her. Two weeks to the minute passed and I had sex with my two female best friends, twenty minutes apart. I told them, before the events, that I'd lost my virginity. They were disappointed and wanted to know why it wasn't with them. They gave me my first... first hand horror stories of women's coming-of-age. It was awful, shared with the same boy and they weren't even convinced to call it loss of virginity. This day they were convinced. I did the only thing I knew, orchestrated a repeat of my first time. The flood gates opened and within two months I was a slut being shared by fourteen girls. I'd known all of them for years, all the life I could remember. My girl from the lake haunted me then and haunts me still. The phone book held numerous possibilities and I lacked the courage, or maturity, to simply call them all and ask for her. Time passed before realizing I had the knowledge to figure out which listing was her family. I called her school and asked for the address. Only one phone book listing was on the map close to her school. I couldn't call. I imagined her having a driver's license and coming to visit me, but couldn't call because I lied about my age. I knew she'd find out. I was too important to her. I wouldn't risk tarnishing her memory of me. Knowing the boy didn't meet her requirement would have devastated her. I cared too much to risk it. In the summer of 2020, online I found her junior high school yearbook. I searched it many times. She is not there. Her name or picture would jump off the screen and bite me if I saw them. I was soooo excited at the thought of finding and contacting her. Then far more disappointed when it became a dead end. August 19, 1973 came and I did as promised. I sat under a tree thinking of her. I spent hours searching for the courage to call her. In Aug 1977 I was convinced I still couldn't contact her. We were both out of high school, but me just barely while she could have been married with children. It was still too great a difference in our ages. I decided that Aug 1980 would be the right time. By then I lost my first love and my mind had been in ruin for two years. August 1980 I couldn't remember her last name. In love again November 1982, we shared our coming-of-age stories. I couldn't remember my girl's her first name. Over the years I've imagined many possible lives she could have lived, in all of them she cherishes the heavy wool blanket. She still has it today and snuggles with grandchildren in the blanket on cold nights. Nobody knows the importance of that worn old blanket. I only wish I had half.

Me a year later. I still looked ten years old.