by Willard Manus
What a difference
a year makes.
Cecille Zap was one of the many teenaged girls who lived in the six-story
apartment building on the corner of Pelham Parkway North and Bronx Park
East. Cecille lived with her parents on the ground floor of the building,
just a few doors away from my apartment, M-1. We had gotten to know each
other well over the years, often walking to school together or chatting
in the lobby of the building, but nothing much had ever happened between
us; despite her flaming red hair and large breasts, I simply wasnt
attracted to her. She was just too familiar and commonplace, unlike Carol
Kelbick on the third floor: slim, vivacious Carol who was taking flamenco
lessons in Manhattan. A Bronx girl dancing the flamenco! It didnt
get any more exotic than that!
Then Cecille disappeared for a year. Something had gone wrong at home;
rumor had it that her parents had split up because of an affair. Or that
her father had been hospitalized, making it necessary for her mother to
take a job. Which left her unable to care properly for her teenaged daughter.
the reason, Cecille was sent away for twelve months, to some kind of home
for wayward boys and girls. When she came back she was a changed person.
I found that when Cecille invited me to spend a Saturday night with her.
I wasnt expecting anything but a tame night: listening to Vaughn
Monroe records and sipping Pepsi while her mother lurked nervously in
the next room. But when Cecille answered the door I discovered much to
my surprise that she was alone. Not only that, she was wearing a tight
white dress that accentuated not only her bosom but her crimson hair,
lips and fingernails. She was also holding a drink in one hand and a smouldering
cigarette in the other.
I learned how to drink Scotch whiskey that nightseveral shots of
it, anyway. I also learned how to smoke cigarettes, though I hated the
taste and the hot smoke that seared your throat and lungs.
I also learned all about sex that night. Well, not everything, of coursejust
what Cecille could pass along to me. Her teachers had been the other boys
and girls in the institution- many of whom had worked in factories
and shops, or had even been married at one time or another. They were
a tough, wised-up, rebellious crewespecially when it came to sex.
Nobody held back in there, Cecille told me. Sleeping
around was the norm, with no regrets or apologies. What with all the sex
and booze and cigarettes, it was like a great big drunken party, an orgy
really. You cant imagine what went on!
Cecilles behavior that night. She not only took my virginity, but
took it lustily and giddily. It was all a shock to me; sex wasnt
supposed to be this easy; Id always had to struggle just to cop
a feel from Carol. Not so with Cecille. She was the aggressor, the hunter;
there was no holding back on her part, no insisting on ground rules: you
can touch me here, but not there. Cecille paid no mind to rules or restraints;
she wanted to go all the way and, after handing me a pack of Trojans,
made sure we did, not once or twice but three times. And when we were
done, she didnt turn away guiltily, ashamedly; on the contrary,
she cried out, That was great, wasnt it? and grabbed
me between the legs again.
As I lay there, all I could think was: you have been zapped by Cecille
* * *
Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the honors you have
bestowed on me tonight. And I want to express my gratitude to the person
who has been the biggest influence on my life. No, it has not been my
father or mother, or Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Paine or Albert Einstein;
it has been a young woman named Cecille Zap. Thanks to the sexual favors
she so generously bestowed upon me, I was able to spend my all-important
sixteenth year, a year in which a young mans hormones begin to explodein
complete bliss and contentment!
Yes, while my male friends, my pals, were going through the agonies
of adolescence, dreaming of sex but never experiencing itremember
what St. Paul had to say about this, Marry or burnyes,
while those poor bastards were positively burning up with lust, I could
be found in the arms of Cecille Zap!
even more remarkable is that she never once asked me to marry her. Or
go steady with her! All she wanted was for me to have sex with her, as
often as possible. Never did I have to beg her for it, grovel for it.
She wanted it as much as I didmaybe even more!
For proof let me give you a for-instance. Do you know what she gave
me on my sixteenth birthday? A box of two dozen Trojans! Not only that,
she spent her entire allowance on that gift!
It was a typical gesture on her partgenerous, humorous, explicit!
Too good to be true, you say? Well, youre entitled to that opinion,
but all I can say is that I had an idyllic time with Cecille, a sixteenth
year filled with sexual bliss, one that helped shape my character, helped
make the transition to manhood smooth and pleasurable.
I would not be the person I am today without that girl! If she were
standing on the dais with me, I would take the medal you have given me
and drape it around her neck. And I would say to herand to the world
at largeGod bless you and keep you, Miss Cecille Zap!
* * *
Then Cecille suddenly disappeared again. There was no warning, no explanation.
One day she was there, the next she was gone.
once again to have something to do with her parents. They had separated,
maybe even divorced, said someone in the building. Only one thing was
for sure: the Zaps had given up their apartment--M-5, to be exactand
moved away. Cecille didnt tell me where, didnt even leave
a goodbye note.
She never returned to the neighborhood either, not even on a visit. I
didnt connect with her again until a high school reunion some thirty
years later. I didnt recognize her at first sight: she had put on
a lot of weight, and her fiery red hair had faded to ash-grey. No matter.
This was Cecille Zap, the girl who had taught me so much about the game
But as I threw my arms out and made to wrap her in an embrace, she pulled
back and barked, Dont you dare touch me! I just had a lung