This morning Grace passed the place where she lost her virginity. She prefers to think of it as the place where she left her virginity, as if it were a jumper or clue for a treasure map. The man, or boy, who stole her innocence, was Jack – captain of the U14s local footy team. He was bulky for his age, and boisterous and brave. When Grace was 13 years old she didn’t even know what ‘boisterous’ meant; not until Jack said that a teacher had used this word to describe his actions in class on his report card. It had stuck with her.
Since that evening, the name Jack had sent cold through her body whenever it was uttered. So much so that it made her nipples tense and brittle. Now, passing that park again, the cold came back, catching her out in its headlights. Grace was never quite sure why it still bothered her, almost ten years on, but she knows now she hadn’t handled the experience with great elegance.
So there she was, with hardened nipples and a head full of troubling memories, thinking about the future and how it was still tainted by the past. She hadn’t dated in over two years. She hadn’t felt close to someone since her father passed away. She could barely hold the gaze of a male stranger, even the policeman who delivered the news that almost ended her short life. And, as she contemplates the three ways to pull herself away from this ten-year-old tragedy, a man walks past. He is bulky. He is shouting loutish things at passersby, and dashing in and out of traffic.
“Jack!”, she shouts.
“Adam’s the name, bitch.”
Grace realised, right then, that somewhere in the world there was another girl, sitting around the corner from a park, crying and wondering why. Why, at only 13 years of age, something can happen that will change a person’s life forever.