I drove two hours to meet my first girlfriend in a gas station parking lot. Her name was V and I was excited to see her. To touch her skin. Kiss her lips. When she suggested we get together that night I jumped at the opportunity. The two hour drive was nothing. At the end of the rainbow sat a cute girl who wanted to kiss me. I stopped just shy of the meet spot to freshen my breath and coat myself in cologne. We were meeting in the lot of a place called Hilltop. It was a combo cafe and gas station overlooking a little city in North Dakota. I exited off the interstate and into the lot. There she was. Butterflies.
Things weren’t 100% official but we felt together. We were both in high school and had only hung a couple times. Despite that we’d known each other for more than a year. We found each other in a Yahoo chatroom for teens. It was the early 2000s and places like that were the go-to hub for a hodgepodge of people. They ran the gamut from shy and horny teens to pedophiles cruising for kids with a webcam. I found myself there because I lived on a farm apart from people. Because I felt more at ease talking online than I did in person. It let me find my personality in a way I couldn’t offline. I was kinda quiet around those I didn’t know. I had friends and everything but clammed up around girls. Then I found V.
We got to talking in a random teen chatroom and learned we were both from North Dakota. She only lived a couple hours south. I’d met up with other girls off Yahoo but I was still shy and those things went nowhere. With this girl it felt different. Over the months our chats turned intimate. It built to the point of us speaking for hours on end each week. She told me her secret stuff and I let out some of mine. She was cute and chill. Smart and funny. We were both a little shy. A little lonely. Both looking for someone to expand life beyond the worlds of our little towns.
We never outright said we liked each other but it screamed in the subtext. I’d “dated” other internet girls but each stacked to little more than teen lust and fantasy. This girl was different. Before V I’d never felt like someone totally got me and vice versa. I’d fallen for girls from school but never someone so intangible. She was both real and in the ether. Our correspondence carried on for a long time. Then one night we spontaneously met after she said she wanted me to kiss her. Her proposition spun me through a roller coaster of nerves and excitement. There was no question. I had to take the ride.
I drove two hours in the middle of the night from Nowhere, North Dakota to her own empty pocket of our state. We sat in the back of her car parked aside a train track in a town of 61. We talked and over time brought our bodies together. We shared a blanket and I traced my fingertips across her arm. Held her hand. It felt electric. Even though she knew me and my inner workings I couldn’t quite relax or find all the right words. It would take time and experience to merge my online and offline self. But still it was good. She put me at ease. We cuddled and talked about things only we knew. Shared the feelings we couldn’t quite speak but each felt inside us. The long history of me and V had led to this point and now holy shit we were meeting.
At home I was as horny as any teen, blowing more loads than I took breaths. Still, I hesitated to make the physical happen when I finally had a girl before me. I was there because she wanted to have her first kiss. It would be my first too. It was three in the morning and the time was now. Despite that knowledge I was a mix of shy and excited. I wanted nothing more than to have a girlfriend, to have sex, but these things scared me. I overthought them into an avalanche of anxiety. In high school I never flirted or started conversations with girls. I had crushes but kept them to myself. In groups I did okay but often stayed in the safe zone of silence.
In the chatrooms it was different. Through the alchemy of internet I turned my jumbled thoughts and feelings into words both funny and sweet. I learned there was an interesting person hiding inside me. Online he came out. That worked in my favor. I knew my personality would always catch more attention than my body. Now here I was in the middle of the night with a beautiful girl who liked both. After talking for far too long we found the courage. We each leaned in and shared what was the first kiss for the both of us. It wasn’t a good kiss but it was weird and exciting. Nerve wracking and a relief. So this is what a girl feels like.
Now it was our third or fourth hang and we were meeting in a gas station lot at the top of this hill. We were set to chill in V’s car with a friend of hers named A. I liked the integration into V’s world. Becoming a part of her life. I spotted the car parked deep in the lot and she got out to hug me. We shuffled to the backseat. A sat up front. They were lifelong besties with a million inside jokes and points of reference. I did my best to fit in. To pry into their conversation. A knew all about me so that made it easier. V and I sat apart at first. Despite having seen her half naked I was still timid with physicality. Years of nerves didn’t just dissipate in an instant. She offered me her blanket and with that across us we cuddled. Ah, there’s that feeling. The night held no direction, no plan beyond let’s meet in a parking lot to make out.
A left us to ourselves. I relaxed and got to be more of myself. Got to tell V her friend was great and I was so happy to be here. Now we were alone. Back together after not seeing each other for weeks. Our first night together had lit the fuse of lust. Each time we met it burned a little faster. In our time apart we spoke online of how much we missed each other, how badly we wanted the other’s touch. So we sat in the back of her cheap car and let nature take hold. We warmed up with kisses then unleashed the weeks of pent up sexual energy. We were too inexperienced to fully expend it but it went too far for a parking lot. In time A came back from her wander. She teased us with questions of what we’d been up to.
As the hang went on an older man in a poor person’s car pulled up adjacent but a couple spots over. We’d parked in the back on purpose. There was enough space in the lot that he didn’t need to be so close. Yet here he was. He was a schlubby white dude who didn’t look great. In our youth any old person was ancient so I don’t know if he was 39 or 55. He registered as nothing until we caught him staring. As the three of us bullshitted we looked at the man: Car off, sipping a Coke, staring at us through his window. Once busted he craned to a forward gaze that peered off into nothing. We laughed at how weird it was. It wasn’t unsettling but he seemed odd.
After we busted him staring yet again he started his car. Okay, he’s leaving. He put it in reverse, moved back a spot, then turned the car off. With this he returned to sitting and sipping. WHAT THE FUCK? We were fascinated with whatever he was up to. Speculated what he was doing here. He didn’t appear to be meeting anyone. He hadn’t been in the station or restaurant. He was just sitting in his car staring at high schoolers. Once more he started his car. Okay, he’s leaving. He put it in drive, pulled back to the first spot, then shut the car off. Well okay then.
He did this a couple more times. Stare at us. Drink pop. Get busted. Park the car. Re-park the car. Look at us again. A wasn’t shy about shit and waved every time he looked over. We stared in return, locking eyes with an old, fat weirdo. It became a game. How long ’til we catch him creeping. Who can stare the longest without breaking. It gave the night life.
After some discussion A decided to talk to him. It was a funny idea and made us giddy with excitement. What would he say? We didn’t know how he’d react but the need to know yanked us forward. Calling the cops or driving off hadn’t crossed our minds. He was creepy but didn’t scare us. So A stepped out and walked to his car. My girlfriend and I watched through the window. The man rolled his and spoke for a minute or two. A came back to our car with a story.
He asked if she wanted to party at his place. If she liked alcohol because he had some. She pointed out the two of us and he said all were welcome. That we could party together. This wasn’t surprising. My girlfriend told me of a mid-30s man who offered to teach her how to have sex. The first time I ever chatted online I was twelve or thirteen and a man pulled out his penis. This parking lot dude was brazen. He’d taken it to the real and got shot down. As A told the story we found ourselves caught between laughter and disbelief. It spurred so many questions. Did he think this approach would work? Was sipping Coke and staring to space supposed to get their pussies wet? The dude was delusional or desperate.
I told A she was welcome to join him. That we’d be fine without her but hey have fun. I think he saw us laughing. Knew we were talking about his offer. He started the car once more. Okay, he’s leaving. This time it was for real. The spell of his fantasy had come undone. Maybe he’d stroked out a load. Maybe he was scared. Maybe he’d be back at it the next night. I doubted this was his first or last attempt. The parking lot pedophile threw it in drive then rolled off to darkness. Well that was that. He was out of our lives and off of our hill. I sat at its top and got back to what mattered. To the girl who called me here for kisses. I felt her warmth against me. The comfort and safety that flowed between us. This parking lot was paradise. In time I kissed her again, hoping I’d get to give her a million more.