Loose Girl

LooseGirlGotham Memoir teacher Kerry Cohen's memoir, Loose Girl, was recently released by Hyperion. It’s a coming of age story about looking for love in the wrong places, delving into the sensitive and seldom discussed topic of teenage promiscuity. The critics are buzzing with enthusiasm. Kirkus Reviews calls it “gripping,” Publisher’s Weekly calls it, “deeply poignant,” Entertainment Weekly calls it “refreshingly relatable” and Playgirl says, “Thanks Kerry Cohen, for being real.”

Here’s a glimpse, a passage when Kerry is 16-years-old.

For two glorious days, Justin and I fool around whenever and wherever we can. We are all over each other, our hands, our mouths, constantly seeking the other. My skin smells like his. And then, as with every boy before him, things start to get difficult. With Justin, it starts when I want to have sex and he doesn't. He won't. He claims he and his girlfriend agreed they would not have actual sex with anyone else. I do everything I can to lure him to break this promise. I move my hips against his. I push him down on the bed. I refuse to do anything to relieve him of his excitement except have sex. But nothing works. He is resolute, and this begins to affect my ability to stay patient with the boundaries of our relationship.

One evening, just a few weeks later, we are all on the dock, and when a water taxi comes, I see Justin about to get in.

“You're going somewhere else?” I ask. “I thought we would hang out tonight.”

He looks at me, at the desperation there, and I see I have ruined everything. I have exposed myself once again.

Sure enough, the next night he tells me he doesn’t want to have that kind of relationship with me anymore.

As usual, I can’t let it go.

The following weekend, Justin shows up at the dock with a friend from home. He’s not a remarkable boy in terms of looks. Short brown hair, large nose and mouth. He brought beers and he passes them around with confidence like he’s hosting a party. By this time, Justin is actively ignoring me. I know what he’s thinking. I’m one of those crazy girls, the kind no boy wants. I am determined to prove him wrong. So I approach his friend, and his friend responds to my attention. Justin laughs nervously. He avoids looking at me. I am making him uncomfortable, and I like that. I want him to suffer, but more, I want him to think of me. To think of me with his friend.

As the night goes on, his friend puts his arm around me. He exchanges some words with Justin, and soon he and I walk off together. I look back to see if Justin is watching, and sure enough he is.

It's a beautiful night, the stars brilliant, the air still. Moonlight casts a silvery glow on the beach grass along the boardwalk. I hear the waves washing over the beach, that soft hush as they pull back. The guy pulls me by the hand to the back of Justin’s house, where no one is home. We go in a back door and into a laundry room. He pulls me down to the floor, kissing me, his hands already in my pants. It doesn’t feel good. His mouth is sloppy. He is moving too fast. But it doesn’t occur to me to resist. Only once my jeans are off and he's rolling on a condom do I begin to feel the rise of shame. But it’s too late. He’s inside me. And then he’s done. I look down at my body. My leg is bent at an odd angle, like it’s not mine. The hair down there is matted and dark. He is sitting near me, zipping up. I don't dare look at him. I grab my underwear and pants and yank them on, not wanting him to see my nakedness. This guy I don’t know. This guy whose name I can’t even remember.

Reprinted by permission of Hyperion. To learn more about Kerry and her book, visit: www.kerry-cohen.com