Innocent Lust by Ethan Regal

Ethan Regal recalls a dark and confusing secret from his childhood.

We were seated next to each other while our teacher spoke. Our teacher stood in front of the class, with a cane in her hand pointing at the blackboard. Her features, I don't recall. This is a vague memory, a moment in time that I shoved aside. All I remember is that the girl seated next to me had her desk so close to mine. Her chair was also close to mine. She took my shaky hand and guided it into her skirt. I was seven or eight.

At that age, I heard my aunt talking about sex. Penis plus vagina equals babies. But hand plus vagina was unknown. Even with the uncertainty, my instincts were against this action. You know something is wrong when you're hiding it from your teacher and everyone in class. My heart pounded vigorously in my chest as her thighs warmed my hand. Beads of sweat bored through my forehead and turned cold in the warm room. She dug my hand deeper into her skirt while I fixed my gaze on my teacher. This girl didn't even search the room for anyone watching. All she cared about was getting that area touched by someone.

Every day, I had my hand in her skirt, massaging her dark warm area. A day came when I couldn't deal with the tension. I refused to touch her. She grabbed my hand and forced it into her skirt and I pulled it out. She tried again and I pushed my table and seat away from her. The next lesson she exchanged seats with another student. She sat next to some guy, and judging from how close they sat and his shoulder movement, he was exploring her dark area. For some reason this made me jealous. I had no feelings towards her but no one likes to be replaced.

There was a South African singer that shared a few similarities in appearance with this girl. They both had dark and very short hair like the low cut boys had. Whenever this woman's music video came up on TV my belly would churn and the memories of this girl would fill my mind.

One summer, my mum and I visited her friend in Port Harcourt. I was asked to share a bed with my mum's friend's daughter. She was probably seven or eight and I was ten. By then, I'd discovered a book containing several sexual positions in my uncle's wardrobe. I'd flipped through every page. By then, I knew what I did with that girl in primary school was called fingering. My mum's friend's daughter, let's call her Elizabeth, was in her pajamas. She was very restless. My eyes were shut as I struggled to sleep. Sleeping anywhere other than my actual bed was often difficult. Muffled croaks of frogs outside filled the room. Elizabeth had spent a while jumping on the bed. She was bored of jumping and found a new idea to entertain herself. She began bumping her body against mine. I chose to ignore her but she didn't stop. Her soft voice asked, "Are you awake?"

"I'm trying to sleep."

"Play with me."

Somewhere in the room, I heard the squeak of a rat. I could hear my mother's laugh and the murmuring of her friend.

"Play with me," Elizabeth urged in a tone that had a hint of sadness.

"Leave me alone, I want to sleep," I sounded brusque. I was livid that night. My body ached from exhaustion but I couldn't get myself to sleep.

"Play with me."

I didn't move or speak. I thought ignoring her would shut her up. There was a gecko on the wall. It raced to the ceiling. For the first time in my life, I saw a gecko crawling on the ceiling. But I refused to move or speak.

She persistently demanded. I turned around to meet her lower lip jutting, her eyes boring into mine. The only way to shut her up was to play with her. So I agreed.

That was when she told me about a tickling game she and her uncle played. I don't remember her uncle's name but let's call him Ben. She took my hand and led it towards her private area. Quickly, I dragged my hand away from hers. I asked, slightly loud, "What are you doing?"

"Tickle me there," she said. Her lips stretched into an infantile grin.

"I can't."

The smile fled her face. Her brown eyes narrowed at me. "Why?"

"It's not good."

"But Uncle Ben does it to me." She paused then added, "Then I tickle him back."

Curiosity propelled me to ask, "Where do you tickle him?"

That cherubic smile returned to her face, making her cheeks flame. Her eyes grew wild and suddenly her hand caressed my groin. Quickly, I shove it off. "Don't do that!"

"You're boring," she muttered, rolling over to face the wall.

I rolled over.

"I wish uncle Ben was here," she mumbled to herself.

I couldn't tell my mum about this Uncle Ben and what he does to Elizabeth. I couldn't risk my mum asking questions like, "How do you know what fingering is?" or "Tell me the truth, did you touch her?"

For many years, I've kept these memories locked up somewhere in my brain. The only reason I decided to write about it is because I heard a woman singing a song by that South African singer.


  1. i like this, the innocence of childhood and how easily it is exploited,

    Michael McCarthy

  2. sorry, a minor blackout just occurred, should read: i REALLY like this, brilliantly descriptive, you got in the minds of These children
    Michael McCarthy

  3. Thanks for your comment. Just had to get the story out there. Your first comment is a bit hilarious considering it was a mistake. But you must appreciate this subject based on your short story about that dude that exploits orphans. Loads of kids get abused and it's so depressing.

  4. Its well written but reading it left me with a very uneasy feeling. But maybe that was the goal of the story..

  5. Thanks a lot for your kind comments, please check out

  6. An uncomfortable read. Perhaps more so for being written in the first person. I reckon many people have such things locked away in their memory. Thanks for sharing!

  7. You moved me skillfully through this little girls sexual experience and how a secret like this could remain a secret. It's also interesting how being sexually abused can be pleasurable for the victim as well as the victim identifying with the abuser and perpetrating the cycle of abuse. Clever and informative. Interesting topic.

  8. Elizabeth was so well written. I could see and hear her perfectly. It was un-pleasant to hear that she wished her uncle was there but I suspect that many abused children have those feelings for their abusers. Well done. I felt sick to my stomach like the poor protagonist.