When I go through the things I didn’t like about Mary, you will see I am only good about 6 inches deep. The rest of me is shallow and mean. If you are not shallow and mean, you’ll appreciate the following as a dissertation on a how close a retarded person is to God. If you’re like me, you’ll be disgusted. Are you ready? Buckle up and don’t whine. I lived this. You’re just reading about it.
Mary wasn’t pretty. She was heavyset, immense breasts, held in check by one of those sears-catalog-wide-strapped-old-lady-seamed-cup-broad-backed atrocities of a bra. Her skin was very pale, but her hair was dark, almost black. It was hard to tell where the hairline stopped and the eyebrows began. She had facial hair, it seemed like a lot to me.
She drooled. And for me, this was a big thing. Especially when I made her laugh, she drooled. You might as well know right now, that no matter how much I love you, if you drool, I will love you a little less. It isn’t pretty. But it’s true. I have a lot of love to give, so if you have drooled in front of, or god forbid, on me, it’s possible that I’ll still love you quite a bit. But I never loved Mary.
So she drooled. And she had a lot of hair. All over. She was usually wearing shorts. Short shorts, with the contrasting piping around the trim and up the sides. Her pubic hair would peek out occasionally and flash me or my siblings. I was prepubescent and the sight of those daddylong-leggish curls filled me with a combination of fear and disgust. I will never recover from the day she sat, cross legged on my bed, pubic nest hanging out, and farted.
My brother, when reminiscing about our childhood, still covers his face and shakes his head when he remembers looking up to see why I was telling Mary to “Sit like a lady.”
If that wasn’t enough, to put me off, she also insisted on telling me way too many details about her relationship with her boyfriend. I don’t know how or why, but her boyfriend wasn’t the only guy interested in Mary. She sought my advice about whether to “do it” with her boyfriend, with a neighborhood teenager and with the resident pervert, Gary. My advice (as a 10 year old) was as follows:
With the teenager and her boyfriend, she should do it if she wanted to. The teenager wanted her to just go behind the school and do it right then and there. I can’t remember what she did. Same deal with the boyfriend. I know she and her boyfriend were eventually sexually active, whether I pushed her over the edge with my sage advice, I don’t know. But I do know that I told her not to do anything with Gary. I knew he was creepy, plus he was in his thirties. Between his age and the fact that he had already exposed himself to me multiple times, I figured he was not a good bet.
At least I was a teenager when she told me about her abortion. She had a way of saying, but not saying things. Leading people to conclude things without saying them outright. Which is a thing people do when you are not interested in what they have to tell you- and they don’t care. I didn’t care about Mary’s sex life. I didn’t want be lead down this path of clues. It went something like this:
“Well I had to go to the doctor’s office. At the clinic, you know? You know why, don’t you? My mom made me go. Because of my boyfriend? You know what happens, don’t you? If you don’t get your thing? You know what an abortion is don’t you?” Long pauses and knowing looks at the end of every question. I knew all of it. But I SO didn’t want to discuss it with her. Because the next part was the interview with me. Did I have a boyfriend? Were we doing it?
I still find myself in relationships like the one I had with Mary. No more retarded people, but people who are mental in one way or another. Where I make a move either towards someone or on their behalf and I end up tied to them in a way I never intended. Where do I go wrong? I have come to believe I won’t figure it out. Nothing goes wrong, really. It’s just that I’m not in charge, and life is ugly and messy as much as it’s beautiful and delightful. If it wasn’t, what would we write about?
I grew to dread the sound of her ten-speed ticking up the driveway. I literally ran and hid when I heard her coming, but she thought of me as one of her best friends. I hated spending time with her. I hated it. But I couldn’t avoid her all the time, and I couldn’t just tell her I didn’t like her. I felt totally stuck. In fact, I was stuck. Until I moved out of my mom’s house, she would stop by to hang out. It got less and less frequent as she got older and we both got jobs, but she kept coming by. And I kept hating it.
Even after I got pregnant, moved out and was just visiting my mom’s house she kept visiting. She must have been in her twenties, but she still came tic-tic-ticking up the driveway on her red ten-speed.
Someone mentioned to her that I was pregnant (I was rotund by this point). She came to me and said, “I don’t believe it. You’re not that kind of person.” She left not believing I was pregnant. I never got out of my chair, not wanting to cause her to have a stroke.
Is it in not being a good enough person to enjoy the cling-ons for just exactly who they are? Not being able to swallow my disgust or distaste and accept them where they are? I have friends who can and do just that. But I don’t know, I guess I’m mean inside. Because, other than the initial feeling that I’ve done the right thing by defending or being kind to them, the only joy I get from them is in reveling in how much they perturb and drain me.
I don’t know where Mary is now. I pray that she is doing well and does not find my address.