Hits 2760 | Created 2007-06-13 | Modified 2007-06-13
A novel I was writing some years ago. Whilst is is based on some real events, it should be read as fiction...
When I was around eight years old my father told me that some older boys had cut the penis off a youth in some public toilets recently. He told me this one afternoon as we were coasting along the motorway, heading home after a trip to the windy beach at New Brighton. The car was hot and I was sleepy as I imagined the scene that must have occurred in the toilets, with myself as the victim. It was a troublesome fantasy that ended with severed, bloody genitals being thrown into a urinal as the older boys laughed. It disturbed me deeply. My father neglected to elaborate on such details as to any motive, or even if the criminals were still at large, so I went on to imagine older boys in a nearby toilet right now, sharpening their knives, waiting for the next eight year old to stumble into their trap.
Of course, my father denies telling me such a story now. Cold comfort after years of unease and general fear of emasculation in public toilets - a fear that never really went away. Though, as I got older I reasoned that it was simply very unlikely to occur - I read the papers, this kind of thing never happened. And besides, I was a grown man now; I would probably get myself killed before allowing anyone to hack off my penis with a penknife.
This is just one of the things that parents tell their young and impressionable children, never imagining the lasting damage that casual words can have on a child's life. Another favourite from my childhood was the defecation encouragement. As I sat on the toilet one day, younger than eight this time, failing to achieve the required bowel movement, my mother told a story. She said, if you don't sit on the toilet (my family's euphemism for boys' bowel movements) every day, then it will travel back though your body and come out of your mouth instead.
I thought about this for a long time, imagining it coming out of my mouth. I imagined choking and gagging, I wondered if it would scrape on your teeth as it came out. Whenever I couldn't go to the toilet I could almost feel the turn of the excrement in my guts as it began its return journey. I would cry and my mother would ask why.
Less harmful parental stories include telling children that when the ice cream van plays music that it has sold out of ice cream. Though, when children find out the truth, they wonder why their parents deceived them in such a wicked way.
One such harmless story changed my life.
Once, when complaining to my mother about girls in general she told me that some day I would actually like girls very much. I protested loudly about this and she told me that I would want to kiss them and hold their hands too. I screamed my denial - never! She went on, she told me this: That somewhere in the world there was a girl for me that was perfect in every way and that when I met her I would know instantly that it was her. She told me I would want to spend the rest of my life with her at the expense of everything else. She told me that this was true love and that everyone could find it but most people give up on true love much too early and settle for something much less and someone that isn't right for them because they think they won't find anyone better before they get old.
Of course the last part of her story was lost on me but I was sold fairytale romance on that day.
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