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Girl Trouble

July 29, 2010, 14:41:51
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I grew up with two sisters, so I knew a lot about girls and what a pain they could be. I also knew that they were made different. We were a big family with one very busy bathroom. I felt kinda sorry for girls – they seemed to have some parts missing. They couldn’t just stand and squirt all over the pot. They had to sit.

 

But boy-girl differences were not talked about so much back then. It made Adults feel uncomfortable and they were always winking at each other and saying "you know what I mean" whenever kids were around. That just made us kids think that it was all a big bad sin.

 

When I was 8 years old, my best friend was the girl next door. She was 7 years old with long, dark hair and skin that was browned from the summer and because her dad was half Cherokee. We chased frogs in the back field, climbed trees, played in the sprinklers, and ate lunches together. She even liked the weird miniature towns I always built in my back yard. She had a little brother that played with my little sister. Her folks and my folks were pals, so both families got on well and we did stuff together. She was my friend and we just liked being together. The murky and mysterious world of dating and romance was a long way off – for me, anyway.

 

One summer night, all that changed. My mom dragged me from a deep sleep into the bright lights of our living room. I stood while mom sat on the sofa with my dad and the next door neighbors – four adults with grim faces. It was like one of those TV detective shows where an unsuspecting guy answers his doorbell and winds up at the police station.

 

Mom, dad, and the next door folks gawked at me while I scratched my pajama butt. They looked real serious. When my hard-drive came out of sleep-mode, I figured that I must be in big trouble. I tried to remember my crime. It had to be something awful, not the ordinary stuff that I always told the priest at confession - cussing, teasing my little sister, fighting with my brother, and disobeying my parents. I was always doing that stuff anyway. And the priest always gave me the usual prayers as penance which I mumbled off at lightning speed and left church with a clean slate to start all over.

 

No, this was bad. I cleared my head as they talked and had to ask them for a replay. Then I got it…

 

I thought, “Is that all? Hey, no big deal!” I took a minute to pull up the right sequence from my visual memory bank, pushed “play” and laid on a descriptive commentary.

 

That morning a few of my friends and I had our bikes in the street, all set to ride over and play some baseball in the park. Just then, I heard my name called and saw my friend skipping over to us wearing her new pink sun-suit (a sort of one-piece bathing suit with some frilly stuff at the legs). She said she wanted to show me “something special”. We all got off our bikes and started following her across the lawn, but she turned and said that only I was invited and the others had to wait. They grumbled back to their bikes, and she led me into and under the bushes between our houses. She stopped and checked that the others weren’t looking or listening, then came close to me and asked if I wanted to see what a girl looked like. CLICK HERE TO COLOR THE ARTICLE DRAWING

 

It was not what I expected, and I was about to tell her about my sisters, when she leaned real close and pulled out her top so my face was looking right down her open suit. I could see that she also had some parts missing – she was a girl allright!

 

Whatever the reason, she seemed to think it was a very special moment. She said that it would be our little secret. I just said “OK!”, went back to the others, and we rode over to the park. They asked me what she showed me and I remember saying something like “She’s a girl!” They all agreed, “Yeah, girls are weird!” We played ball and I forgot all about it – until I was asked to testify in front of four suspicious grown-ups.

 

I clicked the mental “pause” button, focused on the jury, and saw them glancing at each other in that odd way adults do in front of kids when they have things to discuss in private. I was sent back to bed. I could hear voices, but couldn't make out the words. The jury was deliberating, but I never heard a verdict. I laid awake for some time thinking it all through. I wondered if I would have to add this to my weekly list for the priest at confession. The problem was, I didn't really know how to put it. Had I sinned? What was my crime? Later, I found out that the “sinful event” took place just under a window of her house, and her mom had heard or seen enough to set the wheels of justice in motion. Nothing was said the next morning or ever again. But I was sure that I had been “released on parole”. My friend and I both felt we were being watched.

 

Our friendship changed forever that day. She was still my friend, but we stopped doing stuff together. I stored it all away in some mental folder and moved on. Besides, baseball seemed more fun and was a lot less trouble than the girl next door. ©2010:Tim Newlin

 

 

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