Tricia and Fortran IV

Info silverhawk
26 Oct. '18

I went to high school before the days of cell phones, personal computers and social media, so the available crop of potential girlfriends was pretty much limited to my high school.  Compounding that limitation were two other things.  

First of all, my high school class had more boys than girls.  The class a year older than me had more girls than boys, but those girls really didn’t want to date a younger guy.  The class a year younger than me had more girls than boys, but the girls who weren’t already going steady were that way for a reason.  They tended to be either kind of ditzy or else hadn’t really blossomed yet.  Any red-blooded boy is curious about what lies under those sweaters and skirts.  Well, no, we weren’t just curious.  We were horny as all hell and wanted to feel big boobs and if we were really lucky, to feel our cock in a nice hairy pussy.

Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for their mothers, girls back then weren’t into stripping down and letting a guy do his thing.  They were into saving themselves for marriage, or at least that’s what they said.  I never had a girl actually tell me that.  I heard it from other guys who’d tried.  I never got to try because of the second thing.

I was your typical nerdy guy.  I was smart and made good grades in everything.  I was also too short to play basketball, didn’t weigh enough to play football unless I wanted to get killed, and I wore thick glasses so any other sport was sort of a problem.  Girls seemed to flock to the jocks no matter how dumb they were, not so much to the nerds.  

I graduated from high school without ever feeling a boob, even through a bra, and getting my hand in a girl’s panties was something I fantasized about when I jacked off.  It stayed that way during the two years I worked in order to save enough money to get my ass in college.

I really thought college would be different.  I mean, there were thousands of girls on campus and no mothers to keep telling them what they shouldn’t do.  While two years before, all those girls had been pretty stiffly regulated as to what time they had to be back in the dorm every night and how they dressed, the student protests had fixed that.  

Girls now had the same regulations as boys.  They could go where they wanted, when they wanted, and they didn’t have to sign in and out of the dorm.  I was anticipating some late night “study sessions” with some curvy girl.  I wasn’t sure where we’d study, but on a campus so big, there had to be places.

The girls were all pretty smart and they were there to earn degrees, so I figured they’d gravitate toward the smart guys, like me.  That first week I went to classes during the day, studied at night, and in between looked at my prospects for a less than prudish girl.

There were a lot of them that looked and acted like they’d be agreeable to a little playing around.  There were a lot of girls who dressed like they’d want to do more than play.  As I found out though, they were still into jocks, and if I was to believe what I heard, the jocks were into them every chance they got.  

I also had a whole new group of competitors – the frat guys.  They always seemed to have money to spend and I didn’t.  They had a party about once a month where the beer flowed like water and the sorority girls got naked and fucked everybody in the frat.  Well, at least that’s what I heard.  I couldn’t afford to join a frat.

There were other girls on campus, of course, but they were sort of nerds too.  They wore sloppy clothes, didn’t fix themselves up with hairdos or makeup, and most didn’t have much of a figure.  A few had too much figure for my liking.  I’d never known a lesbian as far as I knew, but I was sure some of the girls with really short hair and not much of a figure had to be.  

I know, it sounds like I was being pretty picky when I wasn’t much of a prize catch myself, but that’s just how a guy thinks when he’s twenty and horny.  By the second semester, I’d resolved myself to spending four years in college dating my right hand every night in a bathroom stall in the dorm.

While there weren’t any personal computers back then, computers did exist.  They were huge.  I’m writing this on a laptop that takes up maybe a fifth of my desk space.  The same computing power back then would have used up a room the size of my current living and dining room combined.  

Computer programming wasn’t a required course for engineers.  In fact, computer programming wasn’t even in the College of Engineering class list.  It was in the College of Math.  I needed an elective for second semester and I thought computer programming sounded interesting and might come in handy some day, so I signed up for the class in Fortran IV.

Today when you take a programming class, you do the homework on your own personal computer, and you can make as many program runs as it takes to get it to work like it’s supposed to work.  We weren’t quite that fortunate.  Computers were extremely costly to buy and run, and a big chunk of the computing time was reserved for the professors doing research.  As a result, we were limited to seven attempts.  If your program ran and produced the required results within those seven runs, you got an “A”.  If the program didn't run, your grade was based upon the TA’s evaluation of your program and what mistakes you made.

It wasn’t a matter of sitting down to a keyboard and typing in your lines of code either.  Programs were generated on “Hollerith cards”, one card per line of code, by using a key punch machine.  Most of us just called them punch cards.  The key punch machine had a typewriter keyboard and a feeder for the punch cards.  It would feed a card into the carriage and then punch holes in the card that were interpreted by a card reader or tape recorder as ASCII characters.  It also printed the character above each column of punches so you could read the code instead of trying to figure out the punches.  Once you pressed the return key, it would send the pnuched card into another hopper and then feed a blank card.

After you had your program on punch cards, you’d take it to the computer operator along with your “run card”, a card the university issued to students taking a computer class that had your student ID number and class number.  The card was placed on top of your program, and it let the university keep track of how many runs  you’d used.

The computer operator would put your cards in the stack to be read onto magnetic tape.  When the reel of magnetic tape was full, it would become a “batch” and as soon as the prior batch of programs had been run, the computer operator would change tape reels and start the new reel.  Your results came out on the tape and the tape was then loaded into a printer that printed your results.

The next day, you’d go to the computer center and pick up your punch cards along with the printout you generated with the program.  If you did everything right, the four hands of cards your program dealt or your graph of a circle would be on the printout.  If you screwed up, you’d get a stack of paper with “Error detected.  Aborting run” printed on the first sheet, and then a memory dump of what happened.

A lot of people in math and commerce took that class because at that time, most computers in the private sector were used by accountants and research departments.  That meant getting access to a key punch in the university’s computer center was hard to do during the day.  The key punch room was open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for that reason.  

I usually went there about ten or eleven at night.  Most of the people would be gone and I could go right to a key punch and punch out my program.  The card reader was also available so I could get a printout of my program and check the syntax and spelling before using up one of my precious seven runs and finding out I’d left out a period or comma somewhere.

One night about the middle of the semester, I was punching away when a girl sat down at the key punch beside the one I was using.  I glanced over at her for a couple seconds and recognized her from the lectures for the course.  She’d been sitting in the same auditorium seat a couple seats over from me since the first day.  

She wasn’t much to look at.  She had long, dark brown hair, but instead of it being down over her shoulders, she had it done up in a pony tail.  Her glasses were thicker than mine, and her clothes…well, I’d never seen her in anything except a dress that went all the way to her ankles and didn’t seem to fit her anywhere.  I had seen her shoes a couple of times when she crossed her legs.  They were black, hi-top tennis shoes.

She started punching out her program.  I hadn’t taken typing in high school, so I was pretty slow.  She evidently had, because she was punching about four cards to my one.  As a result, we finished at about the same time.

As I always did, I took my stack of cards to the card reader to get a printout.  She stepped up behind me and waited while the reader did its thing.  I picked up my cards and tore the printout off printer and was getting ready to leave when she said, “You’re in my Fortran IV class aren’t you.”

“Yes, I’m taking that class.  I think I’ve seen you there.”

She smiled.

“Which dorm are you in?”

I said I lived in Snyder Hall, and she smiled again.

“I’m in Gresham, just across the street from you.  I don’t like walking all the way back there by myself this late at night.  Could you wait a few minutes and walk me back?”

Well, I understood.  At that time, all the stuff that happens on campus today usually didn’t happen, but girls still had to be careful.  I said I’d wait.  A couple minutes later, she picked up her cards, tore her printout off the printer and said, “OK, I’m done.”  

Her name was Tricia Barnes, and she was a math major, one of the three women in her class she said.  I could believe that.  Most women at the university were either studying to become teachers or were in some kind of liberal or fine arts program.  There were only four women in my class in engineering.  She’d picked math because she’d liked math in high school and thought since somebody had to write down the equations before they could be programmed into a computer to solve them, her job prospects upon graduation would be pretty good.  She’d taken the computer class so she could do both.

In spite of the way she looked, Tricia was a pretty nice girl.  There was no doubt in my mind she was smart and probably smarter than I, but she didn’t have that weird personality I’d always thought went along with being really smart.  She was pretty down to earth.  By the time we’d walked all the way back to Gresham Hall, I was starting to like her.

Before she went inside, she asked when I’d be going back to turn in my cards and get my program run.

“Well, I need to check out the printout and I have a full day of classes tomorrow, so I’ll look it over after dinner.  It’ll probably be about eleven tomorrow night.”

“I’m in about the same boat.  If I can get done by then, can I walk over with you?”

I said she could, but I didn’t know how I’d get hold of her when I was ready to start.  She tore off a strip of her printout and wrote her phone number on the back.

“Just call me when you’re ready.  If I’m done, I’ll be waiting out side for you.”

At about a quarter of eleven, I was satisfied I’d gotten everything typed right so I picked up my phone and dialed Tricia.  She answered on the second ring.  I said I was done if she still wanted to walk over with me.  She said she’d meet me outside her dorm.

She didn’t look any better standing there under the light over the door.  It was March and still pretty cold at night, so she had on a long coat.  Her hair was still in a pony tail, and she still wore the same black tennis shoes.  

We dropped off our programs and then walked back to the dorms.  Along the way I agreed to walk her back to pick up our run results.  It usually took twenty four hours before they were available, so I said I’d drop by her dorm about eleven.

Well, Tricia’s program worked.  Mine bombed.  I didn’t think she could hear me when I mumbled, “son of a bitch”, but she did.

“What’s wrong?  Didn’t it run?”

“No.  I’ve got some kind of error.  I checked it and double-checked it, but it still flopped.  I’ve only got two runs left.”

“I could look at it if you want.  Sometimes you don’t see the errors because you know what how it’s supposed to read and you read it that way instead of what’s there.  I didn’t write it so I probably won’t.”

We went back to the key punch room.  Tricia sat down and started looking through my program.  She was running a fingertip under each line of code on my printout, and about half way through the program she stopped.

“I think I found it.  Here on statement 620, you’re trying to print text, but you didn’t press the shift key.  Instead of ending the text with a quote mark, you put in an apostrophe.”

I looked over her shoulder, and she was right.  

“I must have looked at that line ten times and I didn’t see it.  Thanks.”

She looked up at me and smiled.

“I’ve made the same mistake.  Maybe we should check each other’s programs from now on.  You can find my mistakes and I can find yours.”

That’s what started us meeting about three times a week.  I’d walk Tricia to the computer center.  We’d punch out our programs and run the cards through the card reader to get a printout.  Then we’d trade printouts and look at what we’d written.  The first time, she found out I’d left a period out of a statement.  I didn’t find any errors on hers.  I changed that card and we turned them in for the first run.

The next night when we picked up our run results, I about fell over.  My program had run on the first try.  That meant I had a week of not trying to get the damned graph of a cardioid to print.  I could actually go to sleep at a reasonable time.

That would have been the case if Tricia’s program had run.  It didn’t.  I think I felt as bad as she did.  I’d checked it and hadn’t found anything wrong, but it still bombed.

“Tricia, I’m sorry.  I must have missed something.”

She grinned.

“No problem.  It’s easy to miss something.  I’ll check it and then you check it again.”

When I read through her code that time, I did find an error, but it was an error I couldn’t believe I’d missed the first time.  She’d forgotten to close a set of parentheses.  I always counted up the open parentheses on a line of code, and then counted backwards on each closed parenthesis.  If my count was zero at the end of the line, they were all closed.  If it wasn’t zero, either an open or a close parenthesis was missing and it was usually easy to find.  I turned to Tricia.

“Well, here it is, but I don’t know how I missed it the first time.”

“Oh, I’ve done it before and I’ll probably do it again.  I’ll just change it right now and turn in the program.  I’m sure it’ll run then.”

The next night, I walked Tricia to the computer center again.  She was right.  Her program ran just like it was suppose to run.  She grinned.

“See, I told you.  I’m glad you found it.”

“Well, I should have found it the first time.”

“I didn’t see it either.  You didn’t screw up.”

A week later, Tricia said she’d like to go with me to punch our new programs, but she had to do some more homework and probably couldn’t get away until almost one in the morning.   I said that was OK with me even though it would cut my sleep down that night.  Having Tricia check my last program had gotten me an “A” and I wanted to keep getting them.  

At ten after one, we were both in the key punch room typing out our next program assignment.  Mid way through I had to take a leak, so I stopped and asked Tricia to make sure nobody took my machine while I was gone.  She said she would.

When I got back, Tricia was done, but she said she’d wait so we could check each other’s program like before.  I finished punching, got my printout, and then we exchanged them.  I was almost at the end of Tricia’s and hadn’t found any errors when she giggled.

“I wonder how this got in there.”


“This line of code.  Did you mean to type this?”

I looked at where she had her finger on my printout.  There on line 730 were just the words, “I WANT TO FEEL YOUR COCK”.

“I didn’t type that.  Did somebody else try to use my machine while I was gone?”

Tricia was still grinning.

“No…nobody else was here except me.”

“You typed this?”

“I might have. If I did, would you let me?”

She was still grinning, so I knew she’d typed it.

“Why…I mean, just out of the blue you type something like that?”

“Well, I’ve never felt one before.  Guys don’t ask me out so I’ve never had the chance. That’s why I changed that card on the last program so it wouldn’t run.  I wanted to keep seeing you so I could.  There’s nobody here except you and me so this is probably the only chance I’ll get.”

Tricia rolled her chair over beside mine and put her hand on my thigh.

“I read how to do it at the library.  If what I read is right, I can make you feel really good.”

“I don’t think this is a good idea.  Somebody might come in to do some work.”

Tricia squeezed my thigh.

“I know where we can go that nobody will bother us.”

I’d never been in a women’s rest room before, but that’s where Tricia took me.  She pushed me into the handicap stall, came in behind me, and then shut and latched the door.  I was still trying to figure out how to stop her when she unbuckled my belt, unzipped my jeans, and pulled them down to my knees.  She started stroking my cock though my underwear.

“Wow, it’s soft, like the book said they usually are.”

“Well, if you keep doing that, it’s not gonna be soft for long.”

She giggled.

“I hope not.  I want to see what happens.”

She stuck her hand down the front of my underwear and closed her fingers around my cock.  It always took me a lot longer to get it stiff than it did Tricia.  In about three strokes, she had my cock half hard.  She pulled out her hand then and pulled my underwear down to my knees.  Tricia grabbed my cock again and started stroking it.

“I like the way you feel.  You’re so smooth and your skin is really, really soft.”

She stroked the swollen head with her finger.

“You’re all purple here too.”

Well, I figured there wasn’t much I could do to stop her then, so I just stood there and let her play with my cock.  She seemed fascinated by it.  

“Gee…it’s really hard now.  Does it always get this big?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“I didn’t realize they got this big when they’re hard.  I don’t know how it would ever fit in me.”

I was almost past talking by that time.  All I could think about was her small hand jacking away at my cock.  It was a first for me, and the end was coming up on me fast.

“Tricia, you’d better stop.”

“No…I want to see what happens.”

She didn’t have long to wait.  I unconsciously started pushing into her stroking hand, and then felt the tension that told me I was going to cum.  Tricia stepped to the side just in time.  I groaned and a stream of white cum squirted out of the slit in my cock and landed on the floor.  She kept jacking me through four more squirts.  After the last one, I couldn’t stand the sensation anymore and grabbed her hand.

“Damn, Tricia, stop.  I can’t take any more.”

She giggled.

“Was it fun?”

“Well, yeah.  It felt great.”

“You squirted a long way, and you squirted a lot more than I thought men did.  How long before you get hard again?  I want to do this again before we go back to the dorms.”

Tricia started stroking my cock again, just little light touches.  I couldn’t really control what was happening and my cock reacted just as nature intended.  It didn’t take her long to have my cock standing tall again.  It did take her a little longer to make me cum.  When she did, I thought it was better than the first time.  Tricia was pleased too.

“There wasn’t as much this time, but you sure did jerk around.  Do you always do that, the jerking your hips thing?”

“I don’t know.  This is the first time this has ever happened to me.”

“Well, I liked it.  We’ll have to do it again.”

I remembered to take Tricia’s special punch card out of my deck before we turned our programs in to be run.  It was after eleven the next night when we did that, and I was waiting for Tricia to drag me off to the women’s restroom again, but she didn’t.  There were too many people there.  

In one way I was disappointed.  I mean, Tricia jacking me off was way better than doing it myself.  In another way I was glad.  I could just see the headline in the campus newspaper – TWO STUDENTS CAUGHT IN WOMEN’S RESTROOM – and then a story that included my name and home town.

We did walk over the next night to pick up our results.  Both our programs had run and given us the results we were supposed to get.  There were too many people there again, so Tricia didn’t say anything other than she needed to get back to the dorm and get to bed.

The next week’s Fortran assignment was a real bear.  It took me two nights of work to write the program out long hand.  Tricia was still working on hers when I called her at about eleven.  It was almost midnight before we both walked into the key punch room and started punching cards.  By one, Tricia was done and I still had a third of my program to punch.  

I finished about one thirty, printed the cards, and then Tricia and I switched printouts.  I was reading down her lines of code and checking for errors.  When I read statement 960 I looked at Tricia.  She was looking at me and grinning.  The statement said “PLAY WITH ME WHEN I PLAY WITH YOUR COCK.”

“Tricia, are you sure about this?”

“I wouldn’t have typed it if I wasn’t.”

I looked around and like the time before, the place was deserted.  

“Are you really, really sure.  I’ve never done this before.”

“Come with me and I’ll show you how sure I am, and since I haven’t either, we’ll just have to experiment.”

We went to that same stall in the same women’s restroom.  I knew what Tricia was going to do.  I knew what she wanted me to do too.  I just wasn’t sure how I was going to do it with all the clothes she had on.  I should have known she’d be prepared.

After she shut the stall door behind us, she took off her jacket and hung it over the door, then untied a belt sort of thing around her waist.  When the belt came free, her whole dress, from her neck to her ankles, fell open.  She wasn’t wearing a bra or panties, so I was looking at a really nice pair of boobs and the thick thatch of dark brown hair on her mound.  Tricia was grinning at me.

“I wore this dress so I wouldn’t have to take everything off.  Do you like it?”

“Uh…yeah.  What’s in it is really nice too.”

“Well thank you.  Now pull down your pants so we can get started.”

Tricia didn’t have to do much to get my cock hard that night.  It was stiff as a poker when I pulled my underwear down to my knees.  She started stroking it slowly with just her thumb and one finger.  She took my right hand and put it on her left boob.

“It feels good when I squeeze them.  You do it so I can see how that feels.”

It felt pretty damn good to me too.  Her boobs weren’t huge, but they sure were soft, and if I squeezed them, they’d sort of just flow out of my hands.  One time when I did that, her boob just slipped away until I was holding her nipple.  Tricia moaned then.

“Oh yeah, that’s better than when I do it.  Do it some more.”

She was pretty quiet for a while after that.  If I pinched her nipple a little she’d catch her breath, and a couple of times she moaned, but that was about it.  She didn’t say any actual words until she pulled my hand down to her bush.

“Play with me here.”

I stroked her mound a little, then cupped her pussy with my hand.  Tricia sighed, and then said “inside me”.

I was really on uncharted ground, so to speak.  I’d heard other guys talk about doing it, but I wasn’t sure I believed them.  When my fingertip slipped between Tricia’s lips, I became a believer.  She was wet and slippery, and it was the most erotic thing I’d ever felt in my life.  It was so erotic I had to use my other hand to slow Tricia’s strokes down.

She did slow down a little, and she spread her legs out a lot.  My finger just sort of slipped in between her lips and then down.  I curled it up and it slipped inside her when I found her entrance.  Tricia moaned then, and it was loud enough I was sure anybody walking by would have heard her.  I slipped my finger out, and she moaned again, then murmured, “in and out.  I like that.”

She matched my in and out with her strokes, and it wasn’t long before I was pushing into her hand again.  I could tell Tricia was getting there too, but  I wasn’t sure what was going to happen because I’d never seen it before.  She’d leaned back against the side of the stall, and was rocking her hips over my finger.  

I was about to tell her I was going to cum again when she gasped and then said, “Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God…Ooooooooh.”  That pushed me over the edge and I shot cum all over the floor again when I came.

Tricia giggled then.

“Wow.  When I do it it’s never like this.”

“You do yourself?”

“I told you no men ever ask me out.  What else am I supposed to do?  I’m sure you do it too.  Don’t all men?”

“Yeah, I suppose so.  I just never thought about a woman doing it.”

She smiled.

“We wouldn’t if we had a man to do it for us.  Wanna do it again?  I do.”

The second time was better for me, and I think it was better for Tricia too, or at least, if how loud she cried out when she came is any indication.  That restroom had tile walls and a tile floor, and it was like being in an echo chamber.  I was hoping nobody heard and came in to investigate.

Nobody did, and Tricia was happy as a lark when we walked back to the dorms.

“I want to keep doing this as much as we can.  I didn’t know it would be as great as it was.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  We need to find a different place though.”

Tricia giggled.

“I know.  I thought I was going to fall down that last time.”

The solution for our problem arrived at the end of the semester when I celebrated my twenty-first birthday.  Once a student turned twenty-one, he or she could live off campus.  Tricia was taking a summer course, so we kept seeing each other.  Usually we did it at night in the pavilion in a nearby park.  Nobody ever came there after dark.  She’d unzip my fly, pull my cock out, and start stroking away.  I’d slide my hand up her dress and since she didn’t wear panties those nights, I’d finger her pussy.  She’d always bring a handful of tissues to catch my cum so it wouldn’t end up all over both of us.  Tricia wasn’t very good at pointing my cock when she was cumming.

After working all summer, I had enough money for tuition, books, with enough left over for the first and last month’s rent for a tiny apartment about ten blocks from campus.  I got a part time jog to pay the monthly rent and have a little to eat.  It was pretty tough working and going to school, but I found a routine that seemed to work.

I didn’t take any more computer classes and I didn’t stop seeing Tricia, but it was difficult except on the weekends.  Since she was only nineteen, she still had to live in a dorm.  It was also impossible to coordinate our class schedules so we didn’t see each other much during the week.  That was OK with me.  My classes were harder and I had to study more.  

I’d usually call her every night though, about eleven.  We’d talk about what we were going to do on the weekend a little.  Then, if her roommate was gone for some reason, Tricia would say, “I’m going to get ready”, and I’d hear a thunk when she laid down the phone.  A minute or so later she’d pick up the phone again.

“OK, I’m naked now.  How about you?”

“Yes, I am.”

“What are you doing?”

“I’m thinking about you and I’m stroking my cock.”

“Is it hard?”


“I’m playing with my boobs.  It’s not the same as when you do it, but it’s still nice.  I’m getting all wet.  What would you do if you were here?”

“I’d suck your nipples and slide my finger inside you.”

“Mmm…I can’t suck my nipples, but I can put a finger in me so I will.  What would you do then?”

I knew what she wanted to hear so I told her.

“I’d move that finger in and out until you can’t hold still.  What would you be doing?”

“Oh God, you’re getting me so hot…I’d be rubbing your cock.  I like rubbing your cock.”

“If you rubbed too fast, I’d get there before you.”

“If you sucked my nipples some more, I’d catch up with you.”

“OK, I’d suck your nipples…and maybe I’d bite them just a little.”

“Oh God, I just pinched one and it made me jerk my hips.”

“Then rub that little spot you like me to rub for you.”

“I have been…Oh…Oh…I’m gonna do it.  Do it with me.”

After that, I’d hear her gasp a couple of times, and then cry out as she came.  I’d cum too.  We’d spend a couple minutes recovering enough to talk without panting and then she’d say something like, “this weekend, I want to do it twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday”.  I’d promise her we could and then we’d say good night.

Weekends were pretty neat.  Tricia would walk to my apartment on Saturday morning and we’d spend the day together.  More often than not, we’d spend a lot of that day in bed.  She liked being stroked, nibbled and kissed until her hips wouldn’t stop wiggling by themselves.  Then she’d jack my cock while I fingered her pussy.  We didn’t always make it at the same time, but each time was still great.  She’d be back on Sunday morning, and we’d do a repeat.  

The Saturday she told me about reading another book at the library was even greater.  

“The book said men like it when a woman puts their cock in her mouth and that women like it when a man does the same thing to them.  I read all about how to do it.  Wanna try?”

Well, Tricia sucking my cock was pretty nice.  I didn’t cum in her mouth that first time because she said she’d have to work up to that.  She came when I licked her pussy though, and she came hard, hard enough she just laid there panting for a couple of minutes before she could say anything.  When she did, she was still breathing pretty hard.

“God…the book said I’d like it, but it didn’t say it would be like that.  I don’t think I can walk now.”

I chuckled.

“I had fun too.  Wanna do it again?”


Having Tricia jack me off was great, and I loved making her cum, but like any other man, I wanted to go all the way.  I’d asked Tricia about actually having sex once, and she just smiled.

“No, Jim, I really can’t.  I promised my mother.”

I said I understood because I did.  My dad had told me sex was great, but only if the woman was not only just willing but wanted it too.  I never asked Tricia that question again.  I did spend more than a few nights wondering how she could resolve what we did with waiting though.  Tricia was just like that, though.  In her mind, sex and playing with each other were two separate things.

After another year of Tricia and I spending our evenings getting ourselves off over the phone and getting each other off on the weekends, she moved in with me.  There wasn’t really anything like love involved.  It was just convenient, and we could live together cheaper than we could live apart.  The current “no strings attached” name for such a relationship hadn’t been invented yet, but that’s what it was.  We didn’t do it every night, but the weekends were sure fun.

When we graduated, Tricia found a job in Oregon and I found one in Tennessee.  For a while, we kept up our phone conversations.  We talked about what we were doing and usually ended up with another round of “what would you do to me next”.  

Tricia sent me a couple pictures of herself about six months after we got our jobs.  I was surprised by how much she’d changed.  She looked like about any other woman except she’d gotten beautiful.  Her hair was down in waves over her shoulders and her clothes accented the figure I’d seen and touched over all those years.  I sort of missed her glasses.  Evidently she’d gotten contact lenses like I had.  She’d been beautiful naked.  She was beautiful dressed too.

It was a year later that she told me she’d met a guy and they were dating.  She said it was serious, so it would be better if we didn’t have our phone calls anymore.  I understood and said I agreed with her.  That was the last time we talked.

It was a little odd not calling Tricia every night.  I guess there were a few strings after all.  I was pretty sad for a while, but then I met Judy.  Judy is a lot like Tricia.  Judy was the one who hinted she’d like more than a kiss after we’d dated for a while.  She was also the one to suggest we take a vacation to Florida together that January.  She said she’d make all the arrangements.  When we got there, I found out her arrangements were one hotel room with one king-size bed.  She made it one hell of a vacation that turned into one hell of a marriage.  We’ve been happy together for almost fifty years now.  

Most of the people I work with never heard of Fortran IV, and they’ve never even seen a Hollerith card, much less ever worked with them.  I guess that’s called progress.  I wouldn’t want to go back to those days, but I certainly don’t regret them.

I do wonder sometimes what happened to Tricia.  I hope she’s happy.  I’m not a big user of Facebook, but maybe tonight I’ll see if she has a page.  It wouldn’t hurt to just say “Hi”.  Maybe I’ll leave her a message, something like, “remember those special lines of Fortran code you used to write”, and see if I get a reply.