Sunday, May 14, 2006


Stacey Maxwell was the prettiest girl in school, the teacher’s favorite and the first to wear a pair of Normandy Rose jeans.

On the playground, a sea of girls stood on their tip toes to see over one another as Stacey jutted out her right hip and showed off the rose prominently displayed on her right butt cheek.

“Where did you get them?” Nanette asked.

Nanette was so cool. She didn’t wear plastic barrettes in her hair or her sisters hand-me-down corduroy pants. Nanette had her hair cut at a beauty salon. Her parents left her alone without a babysitter. She was allowed to have sleepovers and every year she had a sleepover birthday party and invited all the girls in the class. All the girls but me.

I wasn’t allowed to spend the night at people’s houses. I still had my birthday at McDonalds. Nanette got another cabbage patch kid last year for her birthday. I got another stuffed Ronald McDonald that smelled like a box of pampers.

Back on the playground, Stacey explained her good fortune.

“My mom got them at JC Penny.”

“J.C.Penny? That place is retarded. On my mom’s weekend, she buys my things at Nordstroms.”

Nanette was also the first girl in our class to have weekends at her moms and then weekends at her dads. My nine year old brain couldn’t wrap itself around the concept.

Stacey tried to explain it to me.

“It’s called divorce. It means your parents don’t like each other anymore. They can’t live together because they are mad and yell all the time. It means you get to have two houses and two beds and two sets of toys and things.”

“Two of everything? Two rooms? That’s so lucky.”

I relied on Stacey for all my adult knowledge. Stacey knew how grown ups acted.

Stacey was much more sophisticated than I. She had long straight brown hair that the other girls liked to braid at recess. I had hair so blonde and thin that the other girls would make fun of me because you could see my scalp. Their mocking squeals were not abated by the fact that my mom cut my hair herself by placing a Tupperware bowl over my head and cutting around it.

So of couse, when Stacey’s mom called my mom to ask if I could come over for a play date I was more than excited to impress her. I put on my knock off Normandy Rose’s with the big cherry on the back pocket and showed up to play with Stacey on a Saturday morning.

Thus began our friendship. Best friends because our parents loved the free babysitting opportunity. Bonded over the emblems that hugged our seven year frames.

I can’t remember when “it” started.

Stacey would tell me stories about her parents nocturnal habits and then we would act out their strange ritual of climbing naked onto one another, pumping, dismounting and then smoking candy cigarettes. Stacey coaxed me from one play date to the next to go a little further with our games.

“Kiss me there.” She would say, pointing to the area below her belly button.

“Why?“ I remember asking, careful not to reveal my naiveté.

“Because that is what grown-ups do.” She would say.

And as if that made perfect sense, I played these games in her closet with the lights out. I only knew we were doing something wrong when one day her mom wandered into the room and Stacey pressed her fingers to her lips signaling shhhh.

“You girls in here?”

Stacey’s usual ten inch grin was replaced with pinched eyes and pursed lips. She didn’t even breathe. When her mom left the room she tossed my clothes at me, dressed quickly, smoothed her hair in the mirror and skipped out of her door to surprise her mother with a little giggle.

“Where were you girls?”

“Hiding mom. Did we fool you?”

Shortly after Stacey and I began our closeted antics, I discovered my fathers Playboy magazines in the bedside table of my parent’s room. I tore out pages and brought them to Stacey like an offering. We tried out the new poses being displayed by Barbie Benton and Hef’s pin up girls. My curiosity was also piqued by the “Where did you come From?” Books, the movie Blue Lagoon, and the thirty seconds of porn you could catch between a smattering of snow during channel changes late at night on this new thing called cable.

As Kindergarten passed into First grade, I began to dread the visits to Stacey’s. I wanted to be her friend at school but I didn't want to make any more Saturday visits. I would sit down on my bed and cry and say I felt sick and couldn’t go.

"Did you two have a fight?" My mother would ask as she packed my Strawberry Shortcake dolls into my Jansport.

"No Mom." I felt the need to protect my mother from the truth about her daughter.

I knew what we were doing was wrong.

I was waiting until my CCD class made first confessions to tell on myself with God.

Bless me father, for I have sinned. I have never confessed before. I hate my little sister. I mushed my peas up last night and hid them under my placemat, I lied about a hundred and eighteen times. And oh yes, I’m a lesbo.


marrow-from-harrow said...

Hmm. It sounds beautiful to me. Uh.

tigersmile said...

Its ok Normandy Rose- I had a similar relationship with the girl next door. Too bad in this culture we're taught to be scared of our sexuality instead of learning how to channel our sexual energies. Brave post.

It's me said...

It sounds to me like Stacey must have been sexually abused at some point. Children just don't know those things.


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