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The Birds and the Bees
It was around the time when I forced my cropped hair into pigtails like my favorite Spice Girl, and holograph meant the shiniest Pokemon card that fat kid at recess would never trade you for your whole deck. I remember sitting on my door stoop admiring the red-haired fourth grader beside me, eager to capture every word that fell from her infinitely wise mouth. I listened in awe as she told me her stories, her worldly experiences, and the light of fourth grade perception. This was the first time Bridget had come to my house. We were not exchanging meager greetings at the bus stop, no. Instead she was on my door stoop, talking to me, a mere second-grader, as an equal.
Perhaps it was I who initiated the conversation, but one way or another, it was she who turned to me with eager eyes and asked, “Do you know where babies come from?”
I looked at her curiously, searching her face for the appropriate response. Would I seem dumb and unworthy of her attention if I could not answer? Still, I hadn’t much motivation for lying to someone who wasn’t a grown-up, because kids could always tell who was lying better than an old person.
“My mom told me you have an egg put inside you, and then a baby hatches,” I answered truthfully, exasperating so that she knew my frustration over such a vague, dull response. When I was five years old it was so very fascinating, but I soon lost interest when my mother did not allow me to watch her implant my brother into her stomach (which at the time was incredibly disappointing).
Bridget smiled that knowing smile, her green eyes glinting. “My mom told me something like that too, but she told me a little froggie lays the egg in the mommy’s stomach. But they’re both not true.”
I turned to her fervently, gripping my small hands on the prickly concrete. If I understood correctly, she knew the answer to the burning question, a question among the ranks of “How many poor people live in the world?” and “Won’t Santa Clause burn his butt in the chimney?”. Bridget was evidently enjoying the suspense she had left me in, looking around distractedly until I pushed the topic further so as to have her complete attention.
“How?” I asked.
“Okay, I’ll tell you,” she leaned in closer, heightening my anticipation. “But you have to promise you won’t tell your parents.”
“Okay, I promise.”
We linked fingers and then Bridget nodded, her face suddenly turning very serious. She shifted her eyes in either direction and then brought her lips within inches of my ear, cupping her hand in a most secretive manner. I held my breath waiting for the answer to one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
For moment, fear paralyzed me. What if in a swift change of mind she decided against telling me, and left me hear to ponder the answer for eternity? Surely I would die. But she would tell me, and the answer would trigger a most memorable chain of events.
I gasped. It was not only at her audacity, saying the “S-word” rather than “do it”, but also at the shocking revelation that there was a point to those “nakey” people on T.V. fighting over the covers. The explosion in my mind was incredible, the discovery was so immediate it was tantalizing! I was suddenly liberated from an ignorance that had shadowed my near decade of existence. Of course I was unaware of the complexity of birth, the union of sex cells, the distribution of DNA, the astounding miracle that takes place inside the female body. But at that moment it all seemed very simple; I had found the missing link. It was such a sensation, the pride and exuberance I felt. It was in fact so overwhelming that I had to share. And who would be more proud of this acquired knowledge then my own parents?
I leapt to my feet, too excited to brush of the rubble from my hands.
“Where are you going?” Bridget asked.
“I’ve got to tell my mom and dad!” I exclaimed heading for the door.
Bridget opened her mouth to speak, but I cut her off before she could remind me of the pinky promise.
“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “My mom and dad will be happy!” I ran inside and shut the door behind me.
“I know where babies come from!” I hollered as I bounded into the living room.
I’m not sure if either of my parents responded, but I went on anyway, feeling prouder than if I had received a gold star. This discovery was clearly beyond refrigerator worthy.
“Sex!” I nearly screamed, waiting for my parents to rival my enthusiasm.
Their faces went horribly blank.
“Who told you that?” My mother asked.
Suddenly, I didn’t feel so good. Something inside told me this was far worse than the time I accidentally suffocated my pet rabbit, Rose. Possibly even worse than the time I got cooties from my next-door neighbor, Eric, who attacked my face with saliva. My mother marched outside, an unrecognizable expression set against her taught face.
Bridget went home early that day, after my mother politely asked her to refrain from telling me things I was better off learning at home. I have no further recollection of Bridget after that particular incident, but I have a feeling there isn’t much more to remember.