02 July 2009

Three.

Society told me I was meant to form a growing interest in sex at the same rate as my breasts enlarged, or the hair under my arms grew. In Sex Education, where we were given dry explanations of the purity of our existence, I never completely understood the hilarity of the penis. Most of the students were giggling out of nervousness, because looking at a picture of a penis made the boys think about using theirs, and the girls think about touching one. The giggling was a clear sign of interest.

The penis fascinated me as a child. It had such a funny shape, like a banana, but I soon realized how cliché it was to make that connection. My mother never really talked to me about sex, it just came naturally to understand those kinds of things. I do remember her asking me if there was anything I wanted to know, and I said, “It’s simple, right? A boy puts his penis in a vagina, and a baby grows in your belly?” “That’s about it, you’ll figure out the details as time goes on, but that’s really the basic idea,” she responded. By the details, she meant love.

My solitude during childhood enhanced an ability to learn about myself faster than the average student in middle school. Others hadn’t purged my beliefs or preferences quite as extensively as the average child. I had a lot of time to think about things.

My eyes often wandered to the subtle things: the spider eating a moth in the ceiling corner of our school cafeteria, the jester of a boy placing his hand briefly on a girl’s shoulder, her eyes gazing at his hand, while her head remains facing forward. I wanted to see everything in that place, that pool of chaotic bodies, from the minor details to the rationalized generalizations.

In middle school I spent most of my time painting trees with acrylic paints. I would paint the leaves brown and the truck green, just to see what it would look like. What if life were opposite, I would wonder? What if I was boy? What if the sky was white and the clouds blue? What if taught my teachers how to be child, instead them teaching me how to be adult? The infinite possibilities consumed my barely developed mind. Why were things the way the were? Why was I always separated from everyone else by some invisible force? Why didn’t I understand how to be a child? Why didn’t I look at boys and dream and dream?

No doubt, I was fascinated by sex. It was an expanse I had only begun to think about, an essence I couldn’t quite grasp or imagine. I couldn’t imagine sex however much I tried. In middle school I met Rainer. He was 12. I was 13. He had light brown hair that hung low around his ears and toes that stuck out of his feet like a yard rake. He would often stare at me from across the room. I could feel his adolescent eyes on my neck.

It wasn’t until near the end of my last year of middle school that we met formally. I rode my bike to school early to get breakfast before anyone else. The cafeteria ladies would save me the sweetest fruit because I would get there the earliest and listen to them talk about their woeful lives. That morning, when I arrived to school, the smell of vanilla lingered in the hallways. I stood before the closed cafeteria doors and inhaled deeply sucking the vanilla into my lungs. I opened the doors and vanilla surrounded me like music, like the rocky shore music of my childhood. The vanilla smell lingered through the school all day, leaving the corners of my mouth turned up, and my spirit unusually high. Everything looked beautiful from then on, even my worn tired math teacher, Mrs. Bacallao. I noticed the sweetness behind the wrinkles in her eyes; how, one day long ago, she must have beautiful.

That morning when I was walking out of the cafeteria with a perfectly ripe Bartlett pear in my hand, shortly before all the other children would arrive, Rainer walked in while I was reaching for the door handle. For a second we stopped, time stopped and we stared at each other.

And then he said, “Anna.”

And I said, “Yes that’s me.”

“You were in my art class last year. I remember you. You would always twirl your hair around your finger and you sat in the front of the class.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you. What was your name?”

“Rainer.”

“Well it’s nice to met you Rainer. I really enjoyed that art class last year. I learned how to draw trees really well.”

“You like to draw trees? I really like drawing animals. I sometimes go to this area inland that has a lot of birds to draw and a lot of big trees.”

“Oh that sounds wonderful. Where is it?”

“I can show you this weekend if you want. I was planning on going there anyway. Do you want to go?”

“I’d like to, yes, that sounds nice.”

“Well, then…how about after school on Friday?”

“Oh sure, can we can ride our bikes there?”

“Yes, yes we can.”
He paused awkwardly for a moment. “Well I should be going, I have to help Mrs. Bacallao cut pictures for the hallway bulletin board,” I said.

“It was nice meeting you Anna…finally.”

“It was nice meeting you too Rainer see you Friday,” and I turned and walked away. I could feel the warmth vibrating on my neck and I knew he was watching as I walked away.

1 comments:

Jonathan July 11, 2009 at 3:21 AM  

Good work Vanessa. This feels natural.

I hate to give you any criticism, let's call it constructive.. the word "enhanced" could and should be more specific. It's not right.