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Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the beginning

I suppose the best place to start: I am 47. I have over the past many years struggled to some to grips with myself. Why am I the way that I am? In my late teens, I was intrigued with psychology. Among other interests that is. Physiology, anatomy, neurology, endocrinology, and just a whole lot of other words ending in Y. So...........

When I was a boy, I was often left in the charge, and to the devices, of my sister.  She was eight years old when I came into the world. Through the years we spent together, she was many things to me. One of my first experiences of the opposite sex. She took me everywhere with her, even on dates. Sometimes she was sweet and loving, sometimes not so much.

When she was primping, I would sit and watch. She'd polish her nails and do mine too. She would fix my hair, add a little lipstick and we'd go show mom what a pretty girl I was. The praise was heaped on.

My mother always took me to the beauty shop with her to get a hair cut while she was having her hair done. The women there would fawn over me. The stylist would run her fingers through my hair, proclaiming jealousy: "Oh I wish I had hair like this, he's so beautiful! He should have been a girl!" There was always a chorus of agreement.  A Salon, a full gallery of adult women, a place somewhat resembling a doctor's office where all artifice of the feminine may be applied. Peculiar experience for a little fella.

I enjoyed the attention my sister gave me when she was being sweet. To this day, I envy women the intimacies they share with one another.  Brushing each others hair, sharing cosmetics. Primping and preening together.

At some point, my mother decided that I should be 'cured' of any feminine interests.  (Up to this point remember that I had been encouraged and praised in this activity.) To this end, she compelled me to appear before one of my compadres barefoot. Sister had polished my toes. Pink frost. The memory is indelible.

Of course, there was no cure, but a twist.

Sister took some delight in tormenting me. She'd pin me down, tickle me unmercifully, kiss me, rub her hair on me, lick my nose (ew!). "Do you want to smell my feet?" she'd ask. Laughing as she pressed them to my nose. Eventually, I began to crave this treatment. I recall once asking to smell her feet. She let me.

It was summer. August probably because I remember it being too hot to sleep.  We lived in the north, and in those days there were only a few August days one might call the 'dog days'. (ooh, a pun, sort of.)  We had cottage on a lake.  It only had two bedrooms and we were thus compelled to share one as my parents were in the other. 

It was beastly hot.  No air conditioning in those days, just open windows.  Lots of tossing and turning and restlessness listening to the breathing in the house and the crickets outside.  If I was eight or nine she would have been sixteen or seventeen. We had bunk beds, I was on the bottom.  I got out of bed and stood at the foot, looking at her silhouette in the darkness.  I whispered her name and asked if she was awake?  She was about half asleep, but said yes.  "Can I smell your feet?".  She said nothing, but lifted her body and moved her legs so that her feet were at the edge of the bed.  I buried my nose in them until my legs wouldn't hold me up any more. That place I'd been sent to, against my will, fought my all not to go,  more times than I can count. Now here was I. Begging leave to go there. May I? Please? Summertime: Leather sandals, Prell shampoo, Coppertone, salt......... sweat.

I sometimes thought it was a dream.  Neither of us has spoken about it to one another. There was not a thing sexual about it. at least for me.  To this day, when I am feeling distressed there is but one place I want to be. At the feet of a strong woman.

There were times when she beat the stuffing out of me. I never gave up, she never relented.  She asked me once several years ago why I was so stubborn that way.  "Why didn't you just give up?" It was because I just couldn't.

Perhaps I came to know that at last it was finished?

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the blog world ;). Your post made me laugh as I often would do similar things to my little brother. One Halloween, he was about 6-7 perhaps, I dressed him as a girl for a youth group party. Everyone really thought he was my little sister...he he he

    ta ta