The pangs of first love.
Marilyn had gone through all of the painful and awkward stages of growing up, and had experienced most of it in this school as her life had slowly unfolded and opened up before her.
As she matured, her life was a continuously changing cycle of circumstances, worlds encompassing, and worlds excluding, growing, liking, not liking, fetishes, struggling with mental and physical changes, hormonal swings, awakening sexuality… new feelings not well understood, bodily changes, interesting and awkward changes, even hair growing where it hadn’t before… clothes that no longer fitted her, constantly needing new bras, learning new things, taboo things, unbelievable things about herself and about that mysterious, opposite sex.
There were rules, dress codes, behavioral expectations; conformance, regimentation. No chewing-gum! No swearing! No boys! No fun! Developing lifelong friends and enemies, finding food to be both friend and enemy. Learning about the world around her.
Life was a painful learning process. There were times she did not know what to do with herself; did not understand her own feelings. Times when she cried for no known reason.
Everything was clear one moment, then confused the next. She was a welter of warring emotions where minor things became major, and major things were forgotten.
In short, she was a typical girl coming to grips with her own internal changes and growing sexuality in a topsy-turvy world.
At least she was protected here, but from what? Mostly from herself and her strangely rebellious feelings to do with growing breasts, spreading hips and other changes down there. A few unpleasant changes. And men. A man. One particular man. The only man she knew about.
Now in her eighteenth year and finishing school, she was still caught up in indecision and uncertainty as all lives were at first, not knowing where her life was taking her as she gradually put childish things behind her and walked proudly toward womanhood, hoping that she would not stumble and fall flat on her face, yet knowing nothing of what the future would bring her. No one knew that.
However, she knew what she wanted it to be, what it had to be.
He had come to work in the school just over a year ago. His name was David Holdren, and she was in love with him.
It was not a girlish crush, it was real love that had grown imperceptibly over the year. She had not believed it herself at first. No one could fall in love like that, but she had.
The moment she had heard his voice, something changed within her. She became addicted to him, watched him, learned about him and tried to persuade herself that what she began to feel could not be real. There must be something wrong with her.
But it was real.
She could not imagine life without him being in it with her.
She could not get close to him to say anything. Just as well. What could she say that would not sound immature and foolish to him and cause him to laugh at her folly? She stayed well back and waited while advancing her studies. There would come a time when he would notice her as she noticed him, but it was difficult with hundreds of girls surging through the corridors everyday. Something would eventually change. It had to.
Her refuge from real life disappointments that she began to feel, could take place in her dreams, which had also changed as she had grown older.
Marilyn’s dream was the same each time she had it, but with a hundred minor variations as it evolved, with familiarity becoming progressively more personal between them.
Their age difference, about five or six years was just about right, as girls matured much faster than men. Her dream over the following weeks, developed with the progressive removal of more and more clothing, grading not at all quickly, to complete nudity between them, and without any stumbling or embarrassing awkwardness, but with the characteristic male features in that other place always being slightly obscured, unclear, not well defined. Not defined at all. She didn't really know what they looked like other than on a statue or in the illustrations of a medical text. There was nothing overtly sexual about it. It just seemed more natural for them to be without clothing as they grew closer together.
That part of it—the obscurity of the genital area—was not surprising as she had never actually seen an adult, living, breathing, naked male before, so she could not be sure what might be lurking there, and she was pretty sure that an adult male was nothing like the cherubim she had seen in the local cathedral, nor like the statue of David, by Michelangelo. However, the David of Michelangelo would have to do for her to visualize Mr. Holdren, the subject of her dreams, and who was also, by happy coincidence, called David. She often thought of snuggling into his gigantic embrace, being held against his naked body, naked herself, being kissed, caressed and even going to sleep in his arms.
Unfortunately, the dreams seemed to be likely to be the closest to him she might ever get.
He was still distant, in the real world, and he still did not see her as she wanted him to see her, but usually seemed to look right through her, along with the three hundred other girls in the school.
She did not know what he looked like without clothing, and told herself she didn’t want to know, that that was not part of being in love; love was above that; something more, but that was a lie. Her own mind and body told her that all of the time the way her body sometimes ached for a deeper knowledge of a man, and what he might do for her in some private moment.
She had to try and imagine him, but without something to base that vision upon other than a few Greek statues or a picture of Michelangelo’s gigantic--twenty-foot-tall--creation (flaccid, she had heard his phallus, quietly described, and had to look it up, meaning, without an erection; creation, erection, almost the same letters), it did not ever become plausible. It was all so frustrating. It would also have been interesting to know what that part would look like, erect, but she could not imagine that. One of the girls looking over the illustration with her, had guessed that were he erect, that part would be about twenty-four inches of cold, very hard, marble. She soon learned what that word, 'erect', meant. As her own body from crotch to shoulder was only about that length, that item would do a lot of rearranging of internal organs in the female body; her, female body. It made her uncomfortable to think of that.
The dream involved her, exclusively her of all of the older girls in the school, and him, the grounds-man. She’d dreamed about him (so had a hundred other girls) ever since he had first come into the school.
David Holdren was a handsome man of about twenty-four or twenty-five years of age and he was responsible for looking after everything around the school: the gardens and outside structures, the roofing, painting (though he brought others in to do that to get it out of the way quickly, usually on a weekend), snow clearing in winter, repairing walkways, and keeping the miles of walking, cycling, and ski-trails open, and groomed, which also meant taking out older trees that had been damaged by wind, lightning, or snow-load. He managed the ice surfaces in winter for ice-hockey, ice-skating, or ringette—a team sport also played on ice with a straight stick, and using a rope ring or quoit, about six inches in outside diameter—the tennis courts and hockey field in summer, and the modest indoor swimming pool, year-round. But he was never near it when girls were using it.
He was called, David by all of the girls behind his back, but was respectfully addressed as Mr. Holdren, if any of them needed to speak directly with him, which no more than a handful of them ever had needed to do in the year he had been in the school, to tell him of an emergency problem that the teacher had sent them to report to him.
He dropped everything and responded at those times, soon learning which teachers really had an emergency, and which ones didn’t know anything, but he still responded. That was his job. He never complained.
He supervised the heated greenhouses for bringing plants along for spring planting, and other plants for placement throughout the school. A pot of chrysanthemums or other flowers, regularly changed in each classroom, did wonders to buoy the spirits, with other plants growing in sunny areas throughout the school.
Such greenery in the midst of the cold and white, of a long winter, tended to lift the spirits, even of hundreds of unobservant, unappreciative, and unseeing, hormonally-challenged girls. Though some of them noticed. Marilyn did.
She had observed him closely ever since he had arrived in the school, and knew everything about him. Almost everything.
He read prodigiously, as she found out by the books he signed out from the library of an evening when no one else was there, but where and how he found the time to read, she did not know. He did not seem to have a life outside of the school, yet he had a vehicle; a mobile workshop that was always parked in a different place. He would have to sleep sometime. She knew his routines around the school fairly well, and generally knew where he could be found as his work schedule was posted in the school office each day if others needed to find out where he was.
Other girls watched him too, all of the time, but for other personal reasons known only to them, and none of them innocent. Some of them didn’t even know why he interested them as he did, just as the bird, said to be mesmerized by the snake, didn’t, and the outcome would be the same in their minds. Fucked in some way! When they grew up a little more, they would soon find out what that might really mean.
He noticed none of them other than to give a brief nod in passing, but only for a select few. He never made eye-contact unless he spoke directly to someone, but he never did that for more than a few seconds. They might all have been lint, apart from that.
Her day-dreaming, and other dreams after she retired, always involved him.
The dreams started out innocently enough, as they walked together and conversed in her imagination, even if not in school, talking of feelings, and of love (which young girls often dreamed of, and the older girls sought to make real) as they sat talking, exchanging notes about books they had read, progressing to holding hands and then to more familiar touching and then to kissing, though never going so far as to any greater intimacy. She was not sure what would be involved with that, so let her mind dwell upon what was familiar to her.
With none of it real, she had let it grow progressively more romantic, even nudging into immature sexuality, though she had no experience of that intimate side of human behavior, as other of the girls had, if they could be believed.
Some of them could be believed.
Those girls didn’t even mind speaking about it in their gatherings, to reveal how outspoken, and even gross, some of them could be. They had better be careful they were not overheard by any of the teachers, or by ‘Polly’, herself.
‘Polly’ was the nickname given to Miss Holub, who was the Principal of the school.
Marilyn let her dreams run away with her sometimes, entertaining not only words of love being exchanged, and dreams of love, but philosophizing about love, trying to hit upon a definition that made sense to her, just as thousands of poets had tried to do before her.