I don't remember a word we said to each other that night. But I remember everything important.
Looking out a window, I saw Tricia's car turn into the driveway. I ran out of the house past two Jack-O-Lanterns glowing on the front porch, climbed in her brown Pinto hatchback, and gave her a kiss. As she drove us to a Halloween party hosted by her older brother, we noticed costumed trick or treaters unaccompanied by parents, roaming the streets of Oregon City in a light rain.
It was 1981, my senior year and Tricia, a junior, had appeared out of nowhere the first week of school. She asked me out in Journalism, and a few weeks later, had comfortably established herself as my first real girlfriend. My mom absolutely loved her. Tricia knitted me a sweater, cooked special dinners and once surprised me with a gift of her hand-made stained-glass. We saw each other almost every night and I always let her drive us around town because I hated driving and preferred watching her instead of traffic.
For the party, I wore a gray double breasted suit, blue fedora and carried the toy Thompson machine gun I'd killed Nazis with as a kid. Tricia wore a silver-colored silk dress right out of The Great Gatsby she'd sewn herself. We picked out the fabric together and then I watched her make the dress in front of me.
In the car, we listened to rock and roll on her AM-only radio and talked about what to expect at the party. I'd never met her brother and he was supposed to be sort of wild and a redneck. There might be drugs at the party, Tricia informed me; there would definitely be alcohol.
We left behind Oregon City and headed toward Beavercreek. The Pinto rattled down narrow rural roads, past cow pastures, horse ranches and tree farms. Many miles later, when Tricia pulled the car off asphalt and onto crushed rock, the rain began to fall harder. We followed an unlit curving road through a dense stand of Douglas firs and hemlocks. Every now and then, branches swept the car's sides and roof. After a half mile, we stopped in front of a white manufactured home with a half dozen older vehicles parked in mud where a front lawn should have been. I didn't see any Jack-O-Lanterns.
Tricia knocked on the door and we walked into a cramped living room where everyone was at least five years older than us. All of them drank beer from plastic cups. A Ted Nugent or Aerosmith album played quietly on the turntable and cigarette smoke filled the air. No one wore a costume.
Tricia and I found seats on a plaid couch and I held the machine gun in my lap. Her brother came up and greeted us with two beers. Rainer, I think.
Thirty minutes later we left the party without finishing our beers or saying a word to anyone else. It was only 9 p.m. and we didn't know what to do. Back in the Pinto, Tricia pitched an idea. She suggested we drive to her house, hang out, and watch television. Her suggestion somewhat surprised me because I knew her mom and stepfather were out of town and I wasn't allowed over if adults weren't present. But I didn't object and she was driving.
Tricia lived several miles from her brother in a large home of wood and stone set back in the woods off a long driveway. There was a canyon behind her house and firewood stacked here and there. Her step father built homes for a living and trapped foxes and beavers as a hobby.
The rain let up as we exited the Pinto. We ran toward her house holding hands, past some glowing Jack-O-Lanterns lining the walkway. I left the machine gun in the car. Tricia pushed through the ten-foot high front doors, led me past a dozen species of small mammals and large mammal heads mounted on the wall, and into a carpeted den where she turned on the heat and the television. In short order, we started kissing, our shoes came off, and we went down to the yellow shag carpet.
I reclined on my back and she sat on my stomach. I felt her thighs and started hiking up the dress. Beads of Oregon rain rested on her bare shoulders. I don't think we said a word to one another.
She stood up and peeled off the dress and let it drop to the floor. There was no bra. She let me look at her champion swimmer's body for a few seconds and then slid her panties off. This was all new to me, a series of sensual firsts that really, have never been topped in the subsequent 28 years.
Then, without standing up, I got undressed. Tricia climbed on top of me. I remember seeing the head of an elk on the wall behind her as she moved back and forth on top of me.
Tricia drove me home around midnight and we didn't see a single trick-or-treater, although there were plenty of smashed pumpkins creaming the streets. She idled the Pinto in front of my house. We talked about seeing each that afternoon and I kissed her goodnight and sprinted across the lawn to my front porch. The Jack-O-Lanterns still flickered.
I went to bed knowing I was no longer a virgin.