Tuesday, October 11, 2005

sex education

I never saw the girl across the street go to school. I always wondered why not. She was about my age and ought to be in second or third grade, but I had never seen her waiting at the end of her driveway for the bus. She lived with her grandfather in a white ranch exactly opposite our cream two-story house. I don’t know where her parents were; I want to say that they were divorced.

I never knew how I felt about Samantha. Her grandfather and she would let us go in their pool sometimes. They were the only ones in the neighborhood who had a pool, so this was a treat. I went to Bible camp one summer with her; those kids knew all the travels of Abraham and Lot and even people you never heard of. They don’t teach that stuff in Primary. I felt really stupid compared to the other kids. But other than these, I never saw her out of her house. I wonder what she did in there all day.

Samantha had beautiful long dark hair. It would lay on her shoulders in a messy, carefree way. Her eyes were searching; she made me feel naked.

Her mailbox was just beyond a ditch in her yard, close to the white gravel road. It had been a while since I had played with her, so when I saw Samantha out by the mailbox, I ran over there.

“Hi.” The long grass by the road was rarely mowed. It was making my legs itchy. I fidgeted with my legs a bit, reaching down to relieve the itch, but only causing it to be worse. A grasshopper jumped onto my leg, I brushed him aside.

"Hi.” Her greeting was drawn out. “I’m just getting the mail.”

“Yeah. It came earlier. I already got ours.”

She drew her hand into the mailbox, grabbing some ads and bills. She turned and looked at me with a cocky stare and leaned on the mailbox.

She stood there for a while, letting the sun gleam in her wavy curls. I was facing the sun, so I squinted.

“You want to play?”

“No. I’m busy.”

“Do you know what sex is?” she interrupted, facing me abruptly, taunting and knowing that she knew about something that I didn’t.

I didn’t, and by the sound of it, it was dirty and something I shouldn’t know about. I had to answer her. I didn’t want to look stupid, but then again, I really had no idea what sex was. It was something that the boys at school would look up in the dictionary and giggle. It was something I was planning to stay completely in the dark on.

She could see my inner battle about answering her question, so she went ahead, leaning forward, almost matter-of-fact-like, but in a loud whisper, “It’s when a man pees into a woman’s pee-hole. It’s how you make babies.”

I looked at her shocked. No. That wouldn’t happen. That’s gross. I wanted to get away from that mailbox as soon as possible.

"I have to go.” I turned and crossed the street to our yard. She turned and walked into her house unphased, whipping her hair back and forth.

Pee is gross. Why would you want a man to pee into your pee hole? I felt dirty. I wasn’t supposed to know about this ‘sex’. Should I tell my mom? No. I don’t want to know if this is really true. Samantha probably made it up anyway and I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my mom, informing her of something that didn’t exist. But it did make sense. That’s where babies come out of moms. Samantha might be right.

I snuck inside the house, embarrassed, trying to avoid my mom. Finding my room, I sat down on the green shaggy carpet. I looked over at my collection of horse figurines that my grandfather bought for me. Horses have babies. Do they have sex? How would a horse have sex? I picked up a couple of the plastic horses. They were in walking or trotting poses. How would a boy horse even get near a girl horse’s pee hole? Horses can’t move that way. I put the horses down on the carpet, one fell over on its side. I ignored it and went to the window.

I could see Samantha’s house straight across the way. I was mad at her. Why would she tell me this? Now I had a secret. I was eight years old and I had the world’s most embarrassing secret with me. I wish she hadn’t told me.

I went to school with this secret. Did the girls know what the boys giggled about? Should I tell them? Once, in third grade, Mike told me that he had dreamt about me naked. Were the boys dreaming about girls who had no idea what was in store for them?

My grandfather bought me some more horse figurines. I now have two baby horses to go with my big ones. All of the horses now sit in the crawl space in a large box. I’ll get them out someday for my girls. On some afternoon by a mailbox, they would learn what sex was from a little girl with lusty dark hair and teasing eyes.

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