The Occasion of Sin

The risks we take as teenagers.

Editors’ note: Names have been changed.


Paul and Al had said something about going to the dance with them, but I told them I had to come late and leave early. They were already there when I entered the basement at St. Malachi’s. So was Karen. She hurried over, introduced me to her Waynesville friends, danced with me for almost an hour, and asked me to drive her home.

The house was dark inside but lit outside by a pole light that burned in the barnyard. She led me inside and snapped on a lamp. Did I want some wine or beer? No, thank you.

Then we were on the couch necking. After 15 minutes I needed to catch my breath and got up to use the bathroom. While I was in there, I heard music. Buddy Holly. A slow song was on when I returned to the living room. Nat King Cole. Her stockings were off, lying on the floor. She was bare-armed too, and as we danced, we kissed and pressed against each other, our tongues getting into the act. My shirt got unbuttoned, her blouse came off. Her hands under my shirt on my bare back, my hands on her back.

She stepped away and put my hands on her bare breasts. The bra was loose and rested on my wrists. She started rubbing my palms over herself. “Kiss me,” she said. Before my lips could reach hers, her skirt dropped to the floor. She had no slip on, just these white, shiny panties. The lights were very low but I could see everything.

That reminded me of the older-model station wagon I’d parked beside. “Is somebody else home?”

“My parents.”

My mouth gaped, and I imagined her father storming down the stairs with a shotgun.

Karen closed the gap between us and her bra fell off completely. “They’re asleep. They won’t wake up for hours. Daddy’s always dead tired and has to get up at 4:30 to milk.”

Her hands grabbed mine and for the first time I noticed how hard her skin was. Her fingers and palms felt like sandpaper. She worked hard with her father on this farm.

“Hey!” she said too loud, pinching my arm. “Wake up.”

That broke the spell. “Sorry,” I said. “I have to go.” And I left.


Driving home in the dark, I let the whole evening play out in my mind like a movie. I shook my head. Maybe farm girls were more sexed up than girls in town. But I couldn’t blame Karen. Going to see her tonight, I’d known what she was like. What happened was pretty much what I had expected.

And that was what I told Father B. in the confessional the next morning before 10 o’clock mass. Outside the box we were hiding in, I heard feet tromping on the hardwood floor and a mother telling her child to be quiet. “That’s not a sin is it?” I said at the end. “I left the girl before anything happened.”

The priest smiled, his profile showing through the black netting that separated us. “My son, you deliberately put yourself in the occasion of sin. You must avoid occasions of sin. You said you went there anticipating what would happen. You wanted it to happen. Understand?”

“Yes, Father.”

“You were probably dreaming about it. Am I right?”

“Yes, Father, I guess so.”

“That’s another sin. Are you sorry now, and do you vow never to do those things again?”

“Yes, Father.”

“Then I absolve you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. For your penance say one whole rosary. Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”

“Thank you, Father.” I left and dug the rosary out of my pants pocket, but the soft, hot feel of Karen’s large white breasts shot up my arms and into my heart.

Article © 2013 by Bill Vernon