Rumspringa (also Rumschpringe or Rumshpringa, derived from the Pennsylvania German term for "running around") generally refers to a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, that begins around the age of sixteen and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church or instead leaves the community.:10-11 The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church.:14 Not all Amish use this term (it does not occur in Hostetler's extended discussion of adolescence), but in sects that do, Amish elders generally view this as a time for courtship and finding a spouse.
Eighteen year old Anna walked through the crowd of bodies as she watched the patrons of the club grind against one another to the music of the in-house band. Tonight was a busy night for the club-goers as females and males danced together and vice versa. She made her way to the bar and ordered a soda from the bartender feeling guilty that asking for an alcoholic beverage would be inappropriate since she was underage. Soda was as close to sinning in any Mennonite's eyes since it promoted the vice of gluttony in the Amish faith. Even if this was Rumspringa, the rite of passage for Amish teenagers to rebel before being baptized back into the church community,she felt uneasy. Her culture tolerated the tradition for it proved beneficial with younger members choosing God over recklessness in the end. Rumspringa was necessary for the community to flourish and necessary for growth.
Anna began it late after the passing of her mother at age twelve. Her father Brother Ezekiel, an assistant pastor, enforced the idea that she submit to his will and take care of the household by withdrawing her from school and caring for her younger siblings. It was only through pressure of his neighbors that he finally relented allowing her to experience first hand the outside world this year. Anna was determined to make the most of it.
Now sitting alone on the bar stool sans any make-up, she compared herself to other girls of her community who went to extreme measures by wearing tons of cosmetics, tight revealing clothes, and wearing their hair in the latest modern fashions that she realized how out of place she was here tonight. She looked at her simple long sleeve shirt, wool sweater, and pair of jeans that she wore and wished that she was bold enough to make the ultimate leap into rebellion but she couldn't. Instantly, Anna made up her mind. She would finish her soda, go home, and go to bed at the boarding house she was staying at to prepare for the journey back home. Rumspringa was just not for her.
She paid the bartender and prepared to leave when she noticed a pair of eyes staring at her. The eyes looked familiar like deep pools that she once waded in as a child by the river. Turning her head to get a closer look, she noticed to whom they belonged to. A familiar face struck her as the slim figure moved slowly from the edge of the bar to greet her. Anna took a closer look. This person had a tiny frame, wore loose masculine clothing, and had short hair. The only thing that shocked her was that the figure was female.
"Howdy Ann. Remember me?" greeted the slender female.
"I'm sorry," apologized Anna attempting to be polite. "I don't think we have ever met."
"Esther," the woman finally said. "Remember? We grew up together? Well I go by Es now in the city."
"Esther!" gasped Anna. "I can't believe you're here! The community enacted the meidung exiling you from the church! I shouldn't even be speaking to you. It goes against the Ordnung."
"Relax," reassured Es. "I don't care what those old hypocrites think! Gelassenheit is outdated and only God can judge me not the Mennonite faith. They can all rot in Hell as far as I care."
"Esther," protested Anna. "Such words are blasphemous! I won't sit here while you insult our faith." Anna started to leave but Es pulled on her arm.
"Look I'm sorry Anna," answered Es. "I'm just bitter that the church shunned me. I've been living in the city hoping to discover what I truly believe in. I tell you Anna, the Mennonite faith is not it. I don't want discuss it here. Let's head down to my apartment. There's much to tell you about my life."
A vision of Eve being tempted by the serpent in the garden of Eden filled Anna's head immediately. She would not submit to whatever demon possessed Esther or Es as she now called herself. Anna took one look in her former friend and saw that she lost her way. As a good Christian, it was her duty to send back on the right path. The two women left the nosy club and made their way to Es's place.
Anna sat on the couch holding the beer that Es gave her. She made several attempts to sip it but the bitter taste made her ill and quickly put it down on the coffee table. Es changed into a tank top and shorts. Anna tried to not stare at her but could not help but notice that her shirt was transparent and could make out the small indentations of Es's nipples through the sheer fabric. She averted her eyes to talk to her.
"So what have you been doing?" she asked finally breaking the silence.
"Oh a few jobs here and there," explained Es. "First I was waitress. Then I worked as an operator for an insurance company. Now I have this really great job as a club promoter for this city PR firm."
"Sounds exciting," sighed Anna. "Don't you miss it?"
"Miss what?" asked Es.
"You know. Home," smiled Anna. "The church. Our neighbors."
"Yeah and all the restrictions," snorted Es. "Hell No! I don't miss it! I like my life now. That's why I never went back."
"What about your family? I'm sure they miss you."
"Of course they would because they don't have a slave to plow their field. Better yet, they don't have a whipping post anymore to take out their aggression."
"That is a falsehood to cast such a deceitful lie!" shouted Anna. "Our community does not beat their offspring."
"You've been sheltered far too long Anna. You have no idea," said Es sadly. "Your father never beat you. Mine did except he left bruises where no could see just like he did my mother and sister. I was happy Rumspringa came for me because that meant escaping and never having to return to that hell of a place again."
"If this were true, why did you not tell the elders? They would have helped you," suggested Anna.
"I did but that all fell on deaf ears," Es told her. She grabbed Anna full bottle of beer and consumed the contents. "If you remember our scriptures Anna, it is the duty of the female to submit to the males. To remain pious and humble. Well screw that! Goodbye Mennonites and the horses and buggy you came on!"
Anna stared at the sight of her former childhood. She definitely had changed. Here was a woman who was hurting and burdened with pain. Anna got up from the couch and embraced her offering the comfort Es had been missing for a long time. Es sighed upon contact and turned to face Anna. What occurred next shocked the virtuous Mennonite as Es's soft lips grazed hers. Somehow that moment of tenderness felt wonderful as their mouths touched for few seconds.
"No…I'm sorry Esther," said a flushed Anna pulling Es away. "It was an accident."
"Well I wasn't," laughed Es. "I was kind of hoping you'd be into it."
"Into it?" gasped Anna. "This is sinful. As stated in the Bible, it is sinful to lie down with another of the same sex."
"Yeah…yeah and it's a sin to eat shellfish," smirked Es. "Look I have slept with tons of women and believe me I don't feel guilty about it."
"You…have…been with women?" stammered Anna. "But it goes against our faith…"
"Anna I'm a lesbian!" blurted out Es. "I'm proud of it. Why do you think my father tried to beat it of me when I told him. The elders were the same way. I can't change who I am Anna. I was born this way according to the way God made me! Try convincing our Amish faith of that!"
"But what you are doing is wrong Esther," she stated. "I was hoping to save your soul and help you find your way back."
"I don't need your help nor do I want it," snapped Es. "You know what? I was wrong to bring you here to my place. Anna, I think you better go! Don't want you being corrupted by a sinner like me since apparently there is no hope for me! What was I thinking?"
"I think you were hoping to reconnect with a good friend," replied Anna shyly. "I think you just needed someone who truly understands you."
"How would you know?" clucked Es. "You're the daughter of a pastor! You've lived a virtuous existence according to the teachings of our community! There is a not a sinful bone in your body! You're just too good!"
"It is true Esther," answered Anna. "I am good but for once I want to know vice. This is Rumspringa after all and I wish to know all of it. More importantly, I want to know all of it with you. Will you teach me?
Es looked at Anna. The girl was too innocent. Fragile. Despite her strong attraction to her, she could not corrupt her. Not even if it was Rumspringa.
"I'm sorry Anna, I can't do this," sighed Es. "You better leave."
Anna stood her ground and began to unbutton her sweater. Next came her long sleeve top as she pulled it over her neck to reveal a simple bra that she wore underneath. Es simply stared at her semi-nude form.
"Esther…Es, I have done what our community has taught me," she began. "But for once I'm doing what my heart is telling me to do. My body is telling me to give in to pleasure for once. That kiss we had is telling me to submit and truthfully, I wish to be with one person tonight and that is you."
"Anna, have you ever been thought about women?" inquired Es.
"Many times," she confessed. "I had to suppress those feelings. My father expects me to marry a boy that he has chosen for me when I return but I can't bear the thought of a man touching me. I want to know the pleasures of being with a woman before I enter such a union. I realize that I don't know anything so I am asking you to teach me."
"You do know that there is no turning back if we do this," explained Es.
"I know but at least it was my decision and not what faith had dictated to me," Anna told her as she began to unhook the bra to reveal her small breasts to Es.
Es did not hesitate as she peeled off her tank top and exhibited her petite frame as well. Approaching Anna, the two women hugged as their breasts touched one another rubbing their pink areolas together in unison as Es took the lead and caressed Anna's neck. Anna moaned in response to the light nibble of Es on her sensitive nape as a small exhale of hot breath tickled her collar bone.
The women kissed first with tenderness and then with passion as soft lips melded into one as tongues caressed one another wrestling for additional affection from both parties. Es gently pushed down her lover to the edge of the sofa as she trailed gentle kisses down the base of her chest to finally the beautiful tiny hills of Anna's satin pillows. Her tongue encircled each nub of Anna's pink areolas making tender wet sounds like a baby suckling his mother's breast as Anna responded with approval upon Es's incredible mouth on her.
With her head lifted off Anna, Es looked down at her beautiful lover. Anna appeared ethereal like a half naked Venus de Milo as her long hair cascade across her shoulders and down the center of her chest. Es could not wait as she began to fumble with the button and zipper of Anna's jeans. She began to hesitate.
"Anna, are you sure you want me to continue?" she asked her inexperienced lover.
"Please don't stop Es," she pouted. "I wish to know more."
"As you wish lover," she purred as yanked the jeans off Anna and pulled her panties off as well.
Staring at the mass of curls on her groin, Es teased Anna by twisting her fingers around her secretive area. Anna could not help but giggle but enjoyed the sensation of Es's fingers tickling her. Pushing her thighs part, Es located Anna's precious pearl and put a gentle squeeze with her two fingers. Anna yelped, bucked her hips, as she felt a gentle massage of Es's finger on her.
"Relax Anna, just enjoy the feeling," reassured Es. The finger was replaced with a moist tongue as Es flicked her tastebuds back and forth across the special pearl. Engorged now, Anna groaned with delight as she felt her body give in to her inner passions.
Another tongue caress. This time Es paid particular attention to Anna's opening. Spreading her female lips apart with her fingers, her tongue darted in and out of the entrance while her fingers massaged Anna's womanly pearl furiously. Anna curled her fingers as she called out her lover's name several times completely washed in pleasure. Es removed her hand to kiss her lover but not before nuzzling her ear to say something.
"Anna, I am going to take your virginity," Es whispered in her ear. "It will hurt but I promise I'll be gentle and it will be pleasurable for you. Do you trust me?"
"I…trust…you," she panted. "Please do that for me,"
Es smiled as she returned to her opening. Suckling one finger in her mouth, she inserted the wet digit first into Anna's opening and found the barrier inside. Anna gasped as she felt a second finger. Then a quick push and a slight pinch of pain as a mad grab to Es's wrist stopped the rhythm of movement. Es remained silent as a statue as a small amount of red liquid dripped on her fingers. Retreating from Anna for a slight second, Es picked up her discarded tank top from the floor and wiped the crimson stain from her fingers. She returned to Anna to clean off some of the residue of virginal blood from her opening while giving her lover another passionate kiss to ensure that the pain had subsided.
"More," demanded Anna.
Es was eager to please. Placing her mouth on Anna's opening, she massaged the soreness away as Anna moaned her name several times as she caressed the special pearl that required so much attention. Anna closed her eyes allowing herself to enjoy the company of her lover as she felt her body ascend and building to higher place. Then without warning, the inevitable finally happened.
"Esther….I….love…you!" moaned Anna as she released a gusher of feminine nectar into Es's mouth. Her lover drank her in greedily before finishing their lovemaking with a salty kiss of her spent release.
Anna held on to Es tightly as their pale flesh felt warm to the touch. They fell asleep on Es's sofa wrapped in each other's arm as the sun rose in the morning.
Dreams can be quite refreshing and for some truth in reality. Es woke up hoping for another round of lovemaking with Anna but reached out to feel the weight of being alone surrounded by couch cushions. Lifting her arms, she felt something light near her hand and saw the folded piece of paper. She quickly sat up to read it.
My beloved Esther,
Thank you for a beautiful night of my Rumspringa. You have taught me the joys of being with a woman and for that I shall eternally be grateful. Through you, I have discovered pleasure. Through you, I have learned strength. More importantly, through you I have discovered and found love. It is with that same love that pains me to leave you but I must do what faith has guided me to do. As ordered by the Ordnung, I must practice the Gelassenheit as dictated by our Mennonite teachings and return to the Amish community.
I know I can never love a man, much less a husband but I cannot bear the thought of being shunned by my family and friends. God shall forgive me as He has forgiven you. He still loves you as I will always love you. I vow to pray for you every night hoping you will return and in my selfishness will come back for me! If you do not, I understand but please know this. I love you. Please be happy wherever you decide to journey.
Goodbye my beloved,
Es said nothing as she held the letter tightly in her hands. For once, she finally found love and lost it too soon. She held the letter close and hugged herself. Today was going to feel very empty.