michael h. stewart | Answers

How did you lose your virginity?

I lose myself in details. I cannot tell you the name of the coffee girl I talked to today, but I can tell you she has three freckles in a curve over the knuckle of her thumb. My virginity was misplaced while I was holding my breath. I remember her feet cold and curled and these freckles of paint on my forearm; the red line her bra left across her back, the same thickness, the same red as the roads on a Michelin map; she kept whispering something in my ear, but her voice was so breathy and what she said so indistinct that it sounded like she kept whispering, shhh; I remember there was a kind of cold; I remember a friend telling me you can hold it off by holding your breath; she was more experienced than me, confident. I am not the sort of person who touches others casually, I do not brush against people in crowds, I do not touch a friend on the shoulder or arm to make a point. The coffee girl had cat hair on the back of her shirt, earrings made of milky glass, the guy standing next to me in line fidgeted with his keys while he ordered, twirling them around the knuckle of his finger. I still hold my breath, I make an effort to just hold the breath in, my lips lightly together, my initial breath shallow. I hold my breath going up the elevator, the moments before I give a lecture, when I know a pretty girl is going to lie.



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