Monday, December 10, 2007

10 Years Old (excerpt from my book)

10 years
“I have to tell you some things about growing up,” ma says. She’s sitting at the kitchen table,smoking and setting her hair with bobby pins, getting ready to go to work. “Now’s a good time. Your brother is out and it’s just us. I stand in front of her listening. I was outside playing baseball when she called me in. I’m wearing my favorite gray sweatshirt with a red collar, like some of the baseball guys wear. I have my fingers still inside my Mickey Mantle baseball glove and want to get back outside to play.

Ma only calls me in the house to yell. She’s always telling me to get out of the house so I know I’ve done something bad. I won’t cry, it makes her madder and I won’t show her I’m scared. She’ll think I’m giving her “that look” that means I’m not happy with what she’s saying. Then I’ll really get it.

“When girls get older,” ma says, their bodies change so they can have babies. Pretty soon,once a month you’ll start to bleed from “down there,” as she points to my pee pee. It’s nothing to be scared about. It happens once a month. It’s called a “period”. I get one, Aunt Annie gets one and Rose upstairs gets one. Just let me know when you get yours and we’ll take care of it. You can go back outside now. Oh and one more thing, after you get this “period” and start to bleed? NEVER EVER let anyone touch you “DOWN THERE,” as she points to my pee pee again.

I almost don't believe what she's saying. Oh-oh. I’m scared all of a sudden. Boys have touched me down there. But I’m not bleeding yet, so that must be okay, I think, afraid to say anything to her. But I am really, really scared.

What if I have a baby? What if I bled already and didn’t know it? What if Ma finds out? I’m so scared I can’t hold back the tears. Ma looks at me and says, “has anyone touched you down there?” Through my sobbing and stuttering, I say very softly and hope she won’t hear me”….Frankie…..” There’s no sound except for my sobbing. Ma is still setting her hair and smoking and looking at me. She looks really mad. But all she says is, “Okay, you can go out and play now. I have to sleep before I go to work.”

I walk back outside with my fingers still in my Mickey Mantle baseball glove. I didn’t dare tell Ma about Frankie’s friend Georgie. Georgie comes over when no one is home and lets me wrestle with him on the big bed. I worry that we’ll mess it up, but Georgie knows how to fix the bed so it looks like Ma just made it. Georgie wrestles with me and most of the time it’s fun, except for when Georgie gets all sweaty and breathes hard on top of me and I can’t get up. He lies on top of me and sometimes I get a funny feeling in my pee pee that feels good.

I know it’s bad now, so I won’t ever do it again, ever.


Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

You are a brave, wonderful, beautiful human, Suzster! I'm so proud to know you, and to call you friend!


3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great writing, Suzy. Sad, yet drew me in.

Crystal xx

4:02 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

That poor scared little girl. I could feel every bit of her conflict, fear and determination to do the right thing. So glad she has the amazing woman who is you to keep her safe now.

7:48 PM  
Blogger kario said...

I hate that your life was ruled by misinformation and you were expected to just take what was handed to you. I want someone to let you know that it is okay to demand more. More love. More affection. More accurate information. More attention so that when you utter "Frankie", they are listening and most of all, I want someone to look at you and see that frightened girl and take her in their arms.

I'm sending you a warm hug. I'm whispering in your ear that I won't let you be alone with this.


11:41 PM  
Blogger Mid-lifer said...

Great post Suzy and wonderfully written.

Do you ever cry for that little girl when you're writing?
The last post I wrote had me sobbing pathetically and it's not half as sad as yours!

4:06 AM  
Blogger dgibbs said...

I am shocked she bothered to tell you that much, even though what she told you was terribly lacking! Also why did this woman never ask why you were crying or ask what you said?

I think about my girls and if this was the way they were treated it would rip my heart out.

Love and hugs,

9:11 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

As both a daughter and a mother of a daughter, I cannot believe the cold, cruel and dismissive way she regards you. Your attempt to share the unthinkable is snuffed out between the smoke and bobby pins. Heartbreaking and well written, Suz.

10:13 AM  
Blogger jennifer said...

That's what I'm talking about...all on the body and your raw remarkable truth...thank you for your always...head high...keep going!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Terry Whitaker said...


3:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...


6:19 PM  
Blogger Ziji Wangmo said...

I'm so shocked and saddened by your mother! I can't believe it!
I want to give that little girl a great big hug and make happy safe home for her.
Great writing Suzy - thank you for sharing.
luv u.

11:46 AM  
Blogger MY OWN WOMAN... said...

I don't know what to say. It still amazes me to read stories like you have written and realize that they are true.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Self employed mum said...

I get so drawn in with everything you write, I want to protect the little girl inside you. I'm gld you share this with us. Everytime I read one of your posts and want to protect my children even more.

Love and hugs

9:54 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

Wow, that's amazing and horrible that she could say all that to you with such coldness, and then not hear your response.

It must be so healing to get this all out and into words. You're amazing. Big love.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate her Suzy, but I love you. Your strength and courage leaves me speechless.

2:39 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

oh sweet woman ...
keep writing - and you'd darned well let us know when that book comes out.

3:10 PM  
Blogger frog ponds rock... said...

three or four times now, I have come back to this post and tried to write a comment...

cheers kim

7:05 AM  

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