Mom opened and closed her mouth a few times as she tried to formulate a response to my slightly inaccurate confession. “Well, I know that being a teenage boy surrounded by attractive females is har-I mean difficult-difficult at the best of times. And with this being your senior year and all the pressure I’m sure you feel about applying for college, you’re bound to feel pent up.” Her face was somehow both beet red from embarrassment as well as a frightened pale at having this conversation in the first place. Since I’d brought this on myself, I couldn’t really feel embarrassed, but I got major second-hand embarrassment from just seeing Mom trying to act cool about this whole thing. “Although, I’m not going to lie, you being so antsy is a bit of a relief for me as it means that you aren’t being unsafe with some random girl or girls.”
“That’s because I haven’t had the chance to be, safe or not,” I interjected before she could continue. “And before you say anything, of course I’d be safe; I don’t want a disease or to get some girl pregnant at this point in life.”
“That’s good to hear. The safety part, not the part where you can’t get any.” She stared at me in slight horror as she said this. “Wow, that came out wrong,” she stage-whispered, causing us both to laugh.
“It’s ok, I know what you meant.” I paused as she looked at me, seeking the forgiveness I was giving. “You want me to stay a chaste little boy so that you can keep me all to yourself.” She started to stutter in search of a response to this, before I cut her off again, “I’m kidding, mother. I’m just teasing you.”
“Right, yes,” she said as she finally seemed to regain her composure. “But, getting back to the topic at hand-”
“Oh, low blow!” I teased with a smile.
Mom ignored my lame joke and continued as if I hadn’t interrupted her. “Getting back to what we were originally discussing, I’m concerned about your grades Henry. I know that…stimuli outside of school can be overwhelming at times, but is that all this really is? When you first hit puberty, you weren’t this distracted, so why is everything so different now?” The genuine concern about my wellbeing was truly touching, and probably what made me answer.
“Let’s just say I’ve been focused more on a couple of girls in particular, as well as the fact that I can’t have them,” I replied honestly as I avoided her gaze.
“You can’t have them as in they’re too old for you or they’re in a relationship with someone else right now?”
“Does it matter why I can’t have them?”
“No, I guess it really doesn’t,” Mom said as she placed her hand on the back of my head and began to gently stroke me there. “But no matter who they are, they’d be lucky to have you. You’re smart, funny and handsome; add in the fact that you’re clearly mature enough to put their needs above your own and any woman would be lucky to have you.”