Are You Friends With Any Older Women?

Are You Friends With Any Older Women?

Even the air inside her place was yellow. I can still picture her in the stale dark, hunched over like a plant bending back toward its roots. A blanket covers her knees; an oxygen tank wheezes beside her; a cigarette glows between her fingers.

She also wrote for Cup of Jo about talking to kids about sex

To my five-year-old-self, Mrs. Murray seemed as old as the earth. It was hard to believe we were even the same sort of thing.

My brother and I spent a lot of time in her dim kitchen waiting for our mom to get home from some temp job or another. I don’t recall any particular warmth between us, but I do remember that whenever we knocked at her door, she always opened it.

We tried to repay her for that kindness. Mom snuck us in to redecorate with fresh wallpaper and hand-sewn curtains. We scrubbed and scrubbed at the decades of nicotine layered across every surface. I remember being surprised to discover that underneath, some of Mrs. Murray’s things weren’t yellow, after all.

Nell, on the other hand, was soft and kind-faced. Her place smelled of sugar cookies and rose-scented hand soap. Treasures were tucked into every corner: skeins of yarn, boxes of vintage beads, crocheted dolls with squishy plastic heads.

There were also romance novels stacked behind the wood-burning stove in her den –– the cheap grocery-store kind, with bare-chested men and buxom women fawning over each other on the covers.

I spent my 10-year-old summer sprawled across the shag rug, devouring every single one of those romance novels with mounting horror and delight.

Who knew such incomprehensible words could be made to hang together? A revelation. Even today, a whiff of rose-scented soap has the power to send the phrase “Out sprung his hot, pulsating member” looping hysterically through my head. Lire la suite