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Set 2, #3 The Son’s Girls’ Tale …
Oh, right, you wanna, uhm, know about the lonely man and red-headed girls, so okay. [Smiles at you]
But, hold on-ha! Are you understanding why, like, I am talking to you? [looking at you, head tilted]
Should you would you be honored, regardless?
If am a ghost-girl, I can appear to anyone. I am immortal, like, but, you know, stuck in this body. [poses, displays herself, and twirls around] It’s not a bad body though because it’s budding with life and expectation, getting fuller, thicker, taller, you know [giggles] rounding … out. [staring at you, naughty look] The question is if my body is real. It is if you are a 10-year-old. Girls mature very quickly today because that’s, like, what danger does. No time, you know, to sit around developing when mortars are falling on your head, or you breath, like, toxic air.
If, like, I am a god-girl then the Almighty is taking time out of her/their/his time to speak to you. In speaking with you, she-me is telling you not to put yourself ahead, but you get, like OMG, the presence of God every week, a newly-minted discussion, right from the creator’s lips. [puckers up] So, like, how will you messy little humans not get stuck on yourselves in seeing a god-girl?
Oh, pardon me. [touches hand to chest, looks insulted] I’m not what you were expecting? Am I creeping you out? What if you fall in love with a girl? Like the lonely man that likes girls and girl parts, but not in a destructive way. Does that make you a bad, bad “man”? Not if you truly love me, and I want you to love me. I love myself because in me, like, I see the most beautiful parts of you. [eyes watering, with affection]
Well, uhm, that is okay. Surprises are best! I like surprises, good surprises, like, one time, I found a whole case of glitter, and I like glitter, you know that because like a young girl’s body [sic], like, OMG! I don’t know what is coming out of my mouth; it sparkles with hope and expectation, glitter and youthful bodies in the celestial. I am, now, if I were a girl-god, proudest of you messy little humans, though you are messy little humans and you make me very angry sometimes. [glaring at you, then smiling]
I think you think, uhm, depending on how close you stick with the Word, that I am a devil-girl, a she-devil, which, like, sounds real good. Once, I dressed up like a fallen angel for Halloween because there is something about being so pure but a bit dirty that is like POOF WOW!
Like that lonely man’s girl picture, you know, of the girl with the bare feet up on the desk? Remember? The feet are just a tad dirty, a little scruffiness around each toe, blush-like shades caressing the heels. A pure, but dirty little girl, watching you while biting tentatively Adam’s forbidden fruit. She is pure-like, but, you know, life dirties her up a bit but pleasant-so. [wrinkling nose, playful look] The devil takes you places now [imitating librarian] that your God tells you not to go. To a devil-girl, God preaches ignorance, calling you sheep, and the devil demands knowledge, the tree of knowledge is her home.
So, like, I told you about sons through thought-tempting, feminine-girlish mouths. So, like, think this: it’s a trinity. Like, I say, three is better than one. You choose which, when you can, but you’ve got to be patient. Okay, uhm, so, yes, let’s talk about the lonely man when he was six.
He was shivering, not from cold, but from nervousness. No, uhm, it was not fear or feeling scared, but he was white trash, you know, so there was no such thing as preschool then. He remembers going with mommy and meeting the kindergarten teacher that seemed much nicer in front of mommy than she really was.
He, like, understood that because his mom would always change to her “friendly voice” in front of strangers, so people always act nicer to strangers than they do to, like, people they know. But he recalls going on a large bus, and his dad, a child molester, was so sweet to everyone else but an IED at home. The number was 46. He looked up and went, “wow” when he saw the bus roof because, like, it was painted a pale blueish green. It was so huge. He noticed a little blond boy kitty-corner to him. His hair was so white. The boy looked like one of those white rabbits with red eyes, but the boy; no, he did not have red eyes. That would be kinda scary. [She shivers imitating fear] No, they identified through nervousness.
The teacher was not nice but mean and would pull up her dress when the kids tried to look up under it and say, “You want to see what is under my dress, here” and lift up her dress. I mean, OMG, her voice scolded them with disgust, but her hands enabled them. It was not sexual. That is what you messy little adult humans say. They just wanted to know what was under “there.” Besides, she wore those pharmacy stockings for old people but they always have young beautiful women, like, modeling old people’s stuff. It’s funny. A girl with elderly clothes on seems more like gonzo porn than, uhm realistic. That’s the thing with clothes. Other people always look better in them than you do. In that way, clothes cover up your insecurities and who you messy humans really are.
So, the lonely man, when he was a boy, I mean he is not a man in kindergarten. That would be funny. He was assigned to a table. Most kids, ya know, he is an old man reflecting, most kids are white blurs, but he recalled three clearly. At his table there was this beautiful tall blond girl. She had nice lines. When she got up and walked, she had a skirt. Back then, girls wore skirts with only underwear underneath, so he got to see a lot of girls’ panties and crotches, from kindergarten to 12th grade. It felt kinda tingly but not that sexual in kindergarten. He just felt that such was like his teacher’s mouth contrasting with her hands: don’t look, but here it is, you know. Culture can be like that.
He still kind of liked it because it was fascinating. He was not like girls. They did not have penises. He knew that, but he called penises “wet things” because that is what his mommy called them, things you pee out of. He wondered if they did more than that. That was interesting. He saw his mom naked once, out of the shower, wander around with large breasts and “public” hair, when women had pubic hair. His parents called it public hair because they were white trash and thought public was pubic. Mom’s “goose quills” made him gag. He almost threw up. There he was, a little preschool boy, in his green cap, playing soldier with his Tonka, and there, like, is mom, a good Catholic woman, uhm, jackass naked. [surprised, large-eyed, childish look]
Even today, he does not like public hair or women his age very much. Like, not that he does not like them, but you know, in that gross way that adults like other adults. Women his age look like old moms and grandmas because he understands that is what they are. He is no more attracted to a 40-year-old woman than a 40-year-old man, but, like, even the man has something he can relate to: wishing he could hold someone, like, beautiful and young again.
But when he sees the young girl at the store frolicking around, dancing to BTS with glitter on her face, he thinks she is beautiful, a work of art; he is tragically interrupted by the mother. She storms down the aisle grunting loudly, more a he-bull than any trace of a woman. She gave up girlhood and happiness long ago. Even a cow would have some feminine, like, mooishness. [giggling loudly, rather cruel] No, not her. If, uhm, there was a trace of femininity in youth, it’s all but gone now. She is a he-woman, large, thick-limbed, and wide. He cannot help but be cruel and think she should have one of those beepers, you know, the trucks have, when they back up? [giggles more] But hers would be, like, on forward, not reverse.
He knows it’s wrong. He knows he looks no better, a generic, uhm, white middle-age guy gawking at young girls, but the contrast between the two shocks him. He has the sexist thought, How could someone so pretty come from someone so, well, typical? But that is what processed food, stress, and reality does to people. He feels bad. She is a nice woman. He knows how she feels having to raise children. Women’s work sucks the life out of them and any trace of the spontaneous and momentary beauty their daughters possess.
Uhm, the girl can be big or small, little, or, like, tall. He wants all girls to be happy, all of them to dance or do what they want to, but he knows that this woman is not the woman she wants to be. He feels bad for her, empathetic, not, uhm, sympathetic. In ten years, he knows such a beautiful girl will not be recognizable. She will follow mom’s path toward diabetes, health problems, amputation, and death. The sense of hopelessness falls upon him.
Yes, women are sexy, large-hipped with swaying-eventually-sagging breasts, like his mother, with pubic hair, but that image does not, like, do much for him. He thinks, I saw Kim Kardashian’s ass twerking more than my wife’s for 18 years, but … He’d rather see a beautiful little girl with her feet up or one being bratty, wrinkling her face and sticking her tongue out. [wrinkles nose, sticks tongue out] He’d rather see girlhood, happy girlhood, scruffy but feminine, virginal but inappropriate. Because, because, they are not self-conscious or dangerous like women are. They don’t hide their freckles because they think true beauty is not beautiful.
[Pauses, changes subject] Why is it public hair if it is private? Why not shy hair or forbidden hair? You messy little humans are so funny. You keep calling things what they are not because you are afraid of them or offended by them. It’s pubic hair, not public, duh. Come on buttholes, does that hair go out in public? Like, is it extroverted hair that is forced to be private? That is like daddy-daughter porn, the legal stuff; now it’s called “not daddy-daughter porn” or “old man and young girls” as if that makes a difference, duh!
This is why a girl needs to be your god or your devil. You know what they say, like if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s probably a duck, not a not-a-duck. [giggles, amusing herself] Yes, girls my age look at porn sometimes. It’s gross but kinda tingly. We just don’t tell our parents. Girls are better at keeping secrets because, uhm, you don’t think girls are sexual. You know, little fallen angels. You take out the girl like daddy when often adulting. You all, I mean I love you, but you are such cowards.
Anyway, oh, right, like the blond girl. [snapping her fingers, having an idea] The lonely man always liked bodies, girls’ bodies. It’s a tantalizing art form, you know, every line and fold. It’s not criminal, but you messy little humans do more to create trauma and abuse than prevent it. You’re really good at that. What did that Marine tell me? [tilting her head, looking upward] Oh yeah, you’re great at shit storms, creating them and then having to do the long walk toward a bomb alone, dying alone. That is sad.
Anyway, even then, he noticed her legs. She had nice legs. They would be sexy but I guess girls cannot be sexy. But if she were an adult, she’d have sexy legs. She now has not-sexy legs. Well, like, uhm, she was pretty but sat across from him and used those not-sexy legs to kick him. She was, what did that American President like to call women he did not like? Oh, yeah, she was NASTY, a nasty girl.
She, with her not-sexy legs would look at him [wrinkling her nose, showing teeth, hateful look] and kick and kick and kick his shins until both of his shins were black and blue. He took the pain. He was a good Roman Catholic boy, so well versed in sadomasochism and its connection to faith. His eyes would water, but like a good boy and a good man, he never cried.
He had selective mutism and anxiety but back then they called kids like him retarded, and then, like OMG, special, so, one day, he noticed across from him a little red-haired girl sitting quietly. She was so gentle and feminine. He mustered up all of his courage, stood up and approached his nasty teacher, “Mrs. Nasty Woman, may I sit with Renee?”
She looked at him, and said, “Yes,” nodding her head. Well, I guess she was nice to a courageous little boy.
So, he sat with Renee, and every once in a while, Renee would lift her shy face and he could see her freckles. He liked her freckles very much, and he liked Renee very much, and they never talked, not that he recalls. He may have said something to her about an assignment, and she would nod her head, but she seemed sad, like he is sad. But he knew she was good, like he is good because even though the older he got the more flaws he had and the, uhm, more mistakes he made, his heart is as good as her heart. Renee, unknown to her, made school a livable place. The teacher seemed nicer, and the tall blond girl with not-sexy legs, a bit less scary. Home was not so because of his father’s, the child molester’s, rages. Every week, he knew an IED would go off; he just never knew at what moment.
The next one, he recalls, is the high school girl that would come over and help him because he was retarded or, not-retarded but special but in a not-special way. She was so beautiful. Like, she had dark hair, and every time she bent toward him, facing him, he saw those big beautiful brown eyes. He does not remember what she taught him because that does not matter. Ya know, you always can learn, but one can only take so much hurt.
So beautiful and kind. Her almond eyes felt like they peered into his soul but with care and kindness. After every lesson, she’d open a Ziplock and give him one chocolate-covered cherry. If the lonely man could love a high school girl, he would have loved her. You know, if a little boy could, silly me. [serious look] If he met her now and she was still in high school, it would be tough not to love her, “I not-love you.” But that is silly, I guess.
Then there was the girl and bathroom incident. Often, the lonely man was too afraid to ask or use the bathroom. He would try and hold it, like the little puppy girl, the gangster daddy I talked about? Do you remember? [Puts hands in front of her, tongue out, puffs like a doggie]. One day, he went to use the bathroom. There was a red light above the door that if it was, like, uhm, on, someone was in there. It was off, so he opened the door.
Standing there with her skirt and underwear down to her ankles was another girl. He froze, gained composure, as much as a six-year-old boy can, turned away and said, “sorry” and closed the door. But in that frozen moment, this is what he saw.
He thought, No, she didn’t have a penis. It happened too quickly for her to, like, be alarmed. She stood there peering at him naked from the belly button down. Like the brown-eyed girl, this light-brown, French-curl girl was very beautiful. She did not have the pubic hair that made him gag. He liked her bellybutton and feminine lines. He was cautiously mesmerized by her; her standing there etched in his mind. Why is a girl with her underwear around her ankles a bad thing? How did public hair become private? Why is nudity looked at with such shame? Why can’t a man love the young female body as an art form, not an exploitative form?
I mean, OMG, like, of course we are embarrassed when someone walks in on us when we are trying to poop or pee, or who knows what else! But what he saw is probably not how she feels. He saw beauty in the lines and curves of a body seldom seen, the olive skin and light brown, almost blond hair, and her large eyes. Young girls do have large eyes very often, big eyes, especially if you walk in on them when they are using, uhm, like, the bathroom. She may think of that and be ashamed and embarrassed, humiliated, but the lonely man wants her to know simply that he thought she was beautiful, stunning, even with her skirt and panties around her ankles.
He wants to say to the store mother that she was beautiful like that once, and that once is more than he ever had. He would once, just once, like to be girl-naked, with not-his skirt and not-panties around his ankles and be seen a beautiful perfection, not a not-sexy, not-object.
As often happens too quickly, like, he grew up. He went to another school because the “pubic” school thought that being shy was being retarded. [mischievous look] And, oh, also, that home life can affect a child’s school progress. In that year, his daddy’s dog almost killed daddy. His daddy shot the dog to death. Three shots from a 14-gauge. The gun held only two rounds. He had to reload. Two more family dogs would go “crazy” or, I like to say, demand justice and tried to kill him.
He mostly knew fear from his dad. No, it’s not what you think. Daddy was a molester of girls, not boys, so sometimes, even now, the lonely man likes to see himself as a young girl with, you know, men because, he is a messy little human. He likes thinking about incest fantasy, not-daddy-daughter or brother-sister stuff. For some abuse survivors, this, uhm, fantasy is about empowerment, reenacting and taking the trauma out. He wanted his daddy’s love, and girls seem to get much more attention, even bad love is better than no love at all?
I mean, really, a girl sticks her foot in a camera and gets an easy 12,000 views. [sticks her foot up toward you] The lonely man thought about trying that, sticking his barefoot in the camera or doing a toothpaste challenge, where, you know, girls put toothpaste on their tongues, hold their tongues out and see how long they can do it. So, there they are holding a cup, tongue stuck out, foaming at the mouth with white spit oozing. Yuk, like gross! But men liked that so much for some reason [rolling her eyes] that the videos were pulled down. It’s cringy girl power. They get attention, but he is invisible. So even though he is not into men, if he could be a girl, change into one like a werewolf and back, he dreams of running around as a not-man in a not-girl’s body and terrorizing men with seduction. They will give in, he thinks, it just takes patience, even the Puritan lawmaker will.
So, he was in graduate school, years and years later and went, like, back home for break. He was in the drug store and saw a beautiful red-headed girl behind the counter. He asked her for a prescription, and she was so beautiful. She smiled, was very friendly. He did not feel invisible anymore. He had that feeling, ya know, that feeling that she was Renee. He looked at her name tag, and whether it was the old shyness returning or he could not quite see, it appeared to read “Renee,” but he was not certain. He did not want to stare at her chest. He wanted to be appropriate, kind. He thought about asking her, “Are you Renee, and did you have Mrs. Nasty Woman for a kindergarten teacher?” He felt it, something he never felt, a vibe. Something was telling him to go and ask.
Ask her; ask her; ask her. His heart raced as the moment slowed like a train going up to the mountain-top.
If there would be any woman, it may be this one. Maybe love at first sight? No, that is silly, a bad idea. It was not love at first sight. It was a sustained and growing comfort, where two people can sit in a room for a year, not say a word, and feel at home.
“Are you the girl that I sat with 22 years ago in Kindergarten? I never forgot about you. I don’t want to seem creepy, but …”
The butthole did not ask! [angry, glaring eyes, slowly softening] Sometimes it’s hard to be self-confident when you are a guy. His happiness, well, it blew away that day.
So, now, he likes Ireland, and those Emerald gymnasts because it amazes him how so many girls can have red hair, the Ireland green and orange. The color of feminine beauty, with the pale history of Catholic-Protestant conflict.
Girls are so beautiful, all shades and colors of hair, skin, and eyes. He sometimes looks at red-headed women, but girls are more relatable because girls are not cringy-like, adulting mess-ups. Now, he looks in the mirror at 50 and sees his child molester father’s face pushing through, and he sees grandpa, a kind man that smoked nice-smelling cigars and chuckled like Santa. Though he likes girls, he knows that he is not his father. He is not his father because he does not think that real incest or child sex with an adult is okay, that he is the teacher, she the student, the little groomed bride, but he does not deny his feelings. He sits with them. He says to himself, “I like girls and sometimes I have thoughts, but that’s fantasy.”
You all, like, can always dream of finding your perfect love, even if you never found it, but for him happiness is not possible. He, like, uhm, OMG, aged out! Life, at its best, is sad and lonely; at its worse, it’s a cold-hearted inferno.
He knows that maybe if he spoke to Renee, it all would be different. If he only said to her … [silent, watery eyes]
Editor’s Note: Please read the other chapters here from this Serial Novel.
Earl Yarington (LMSW) is a social worker and school bus driver. He taught literature and writing for nearly 20 years and spent 3 years working in forensic social work internships with offending populations, including work at Delaware Correctional facilities and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He has a PhD in literature and criticism (feminism/women writers) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University, and an interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts from Arizona State University, where he studied the impact of visual image and girlhood in media/social media. He also has an MA and BS in English from SUNY College at Brockport. The opinions and analyses that Earl writes are his own and are not necessarily the positions or views of his employers, the agencies he supports, or that of his colleagues. Reach out with comments or questions.