FOLLOWED BY THE RULES.
I found out that I was really a woman at age thirteen and Lord knows I resented the fact. Being a woman took me into a realm of restrictions and rules I did not care to keep.
Rule number one: You can’t play cricket with the boys anymore on certain days.
Rule number two: Do not climb any trees unless you are wearing slacks.
Rule number three: Do not climb trees anymore
Rule number four: Do not allow yourself to be touched by anything male, anywhere, anytime for any reason.
Rule number five: You may not go gallivanting over the hills and vales nor in the gully where the ripe plums are, anymore.
I was now woman. One could hear me roaring with anger as these rules were given me by my parents as dictated by my mother.
And so I entered this vale of misery and great discontent. I was now walking like a cowboy conscious of the woman thing between my legs. Every step I took was a reminder that I was now a woman. The pain I felt compounded my feminine mystique. I had arrived in hell.
My devoted followers could not comprehend why I had suddenly turned into a brooding hermit. All that was seen of me, was my head through my bedroom window as I watched the clouds float by changing shapes.
My mother said my shape would soon be changing as I became more of a woman.
I looked in the mirror. I saw no shape worthy to be called a woman. I still had the outline of a mantis; arms legs, and two almond-shaped eyes. More Alien than woman.
She insisted that it was a done thing. When I protested that I didn’t wish to be a woman, could she intervene; no she couldn’t, she said, as she left me seated cross-legged on her bureau as I threatened to jump off and kill myself. She asked me not to break the hand mirror when I jumped because it was her mother’s. I did not understand her humor, or was it?
Reluctantly I went with the flow as I brooded and fumed. In the seventeenth year of my curse, one day Barry, a former gully raider came by and he looked at me in ‘hushed tones’, I realized instinctively that I had developed a certain verve that was distinctly me and that I could turn it on or off as I pleased. My wiles had arrived to join my muses.
As soon as he took his homework and left looking bewildered, (I was in the habit of doing other people’s homework) I went back to the wonder mirror to have another look. To my surprise, although I still had the outlook of a mannequin, my lips and cheek bones had taken on a certain sultriness which I immediately associated with the wiles. I smiled seductively and walked away with the feeling of warm wine on my parted lips.
I had arrived in heaven. The rules by now began to seem somehow worthwhile, except for rule number five which made no dam sense, I loved those red plums especially when stewed. But, mother was God and she had a wicked left arm that baseball folks would kill for.
I am a woman, I preened. Yes. This is good!!
The next Summer Barry said that I should be his girlfriend but my parents whisked me away to the University of the West Indies.
Mother knows best. I saved my wiles for Kingsley and Alan; we traveled in a pack which contained my wiles wisely. I decide to turn them off and focus on my studies.
God is good. Being a woman today? I am not so sure.