Indian Paintbrush

[Adult themed, lost virginity but no graphic depictions.]

I was sixteen that summer.  Little Telly was sickly, who usually took meal out to the boys in the pastures tendin’ the herds, so it fell to me even though I protested somethin’ awful, me bein’ too old to be at that.  Mama gave me an earful ’bout bein’ obedient afore she sent me on my way with the basket.

Bein’ sixteen I was rather headstrong an’ so I did my share of dawdlin’ as I went to protest havin’ to do it at all, watchin’ the butterflies an’a pickin’ at the grass heads.  The Indian Paintbrushes was all in bloom an’ the meadows was filled scarlet red with ‘em, an’ little bees all bumblin’ from one to the next.

The air was thick with the scent of pine an’ sacred sage an’ I picked me a bunch of the sage to burn for later an’ some Indigo for dyin’.  Took me clean near an hour to get to where I was meant to be headin’ an’ when I got there, there was only James Saller who weren’t more than seventeen hisself an’ as wild boy as ever there was.

I was still sore at bein’ sent so I didn’t give him no smile or nothin’ an’ set the basket down but Lawd did he grin at me an’ act all sweet-like.  He thanked me for the basket an’ asked after Telly an’ I said she was ill.  He sent his compliments on to Ma for the meal an’ then asked ifin I would join him for a while like a picnic.

Well, I had always thought James Saller had a nice look about him even if he were a wild thang so I sat myself down an’ he sat beside.  He said he liked my new dress an’ that got me to smile a bit an’ then he told me that he’d been thinkin’ of askin’ me to the Fourth of July dance at Todd Colin’s place an’ would I go, an’ I says I’d say yes but he needed to ask my Pa first.

Then he put his hand on mine an’ I let him.  Felt nice, an’ I probably was blushin’ like mad an’ he knew it so I guess that made him bold enough to lean over an’ give me a kiss.  Now I ain’t no wicked girl but I said I was a headstrong one, an’ what with bein’ sore at Ma I didn’t stop him when he reached under my skirt, as if that’d show her for sendin’ me out.

Lawd help me but he was makin’ me feel things I ain’t never felt afore an’ he asked if he could have a go at me.

Now my cousin Lucy says she seen one an’ I used to call her a liar but I guess I was about to see ’cause she says it looks like a horse’s, an’ he shuffled his trousers down an’ I’ll tell you now James Saller weren’t no horse danglin’ there but I didn’t much mind ’cause of how he was touchin’ me felt so nice, so I let him go ahead.

He pushed up my skirts an’ climbed up on me an’ a’first it hurt, but soon he were a’gruntin’ an’ a’hollerin’ like it were Sunday at church, callin’ out to God an’ pawin’ at my chest.  Then it were over.  I hadn’t never felt so good since never an’ he was pantin’ an’ smilin’ an’ kissed me again.

I pushed my skirts back down an’ there was a stain as red as them Indian Paintbrushes on ‘em.  Oh Lawd, I prayed Ma wouldn’t find it ’cause then Pa’d whip me somethin’ awful if he knew.  I took the basket an’ wandered back home, takin’ even longer goin’ back as I did goin’ out an’ maybe that’s ’cause my legs, they weren’t workin’ right at first.

James Saller never did ask Pa if he could take me to the dance.  He went with Jenny Larabee instead an’ I was sore for a while but James Saller sure weren’t hung like no horse so I didn’t stay sore for long ’cause then Martin Greene, Lawd, he was.

Every summer, when I see a field all a’blaze in red an’ the smell of pine an’ sage, I remember the day I became a woman out there in that meadow.

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