10 December 2014

Windows: Double vision or first contact of the girl kind

grew up in a neighbourhood where everyone knew everyone else. My grandfather build our house with the help of the neighbours, each contributing as best they could with their knowledge and handiwork. Our street was just a dirt track and a cul-de-sac ending in a field with a gigantic oak tree. We have hardly any traffic other than locals or a rare case of someone taking a wrong turning. 
There was a little river for pooh sticking, fields of summer flowers to sneeze on and a forbidden sand pit with deep water to fall into, in other words idyllic. Of course I was part of a gang and of course just us boys. Girls weren’t taboo per se, they were just not any around in our street in our age group. It’s not that we wouldn’t have considered allowing girls into the gang, actually we did consider it for about 5 seconds followed by a short collective shudder and went straight onto the next point on the agenda. 
As we did happen to go to a mixed primary school, we had a pretty good idea of what girls looked and sounded like, there were enough examples milling around all day to cotton on to. Having any form of contact was another kettle of fish

With this as background I now come to my earliest memory of having anything to do with girls that were not family (I have two girl cousins that I saw on rare family occasions, both younger than me and therefore don’t really count). 
 It was in the 3 or 4th grade. I had a bike at this time for getting to school and on one occasion, just as I was about to leave home, there before me outside our front gate were what I can only describe as two “admirers” waiting for me. They were about my age and twins to boot! Dressed both colourful and styled a little like Alice from Lewis Carrol. I had seen them at school (I think) but never in our street, therefore they must have come out of their way to be there. I didn’t know what to make of it, I don’t remember asking why me, I think we hardly spoke to each other at all. It was all a little weird. 
I would move off and they would place themselves either side of me a little behind as with a diplomatic cavalcade. My mother was amused by this. I, on the other hand slightly embarrassed and wary of what this was all about. After some time I got sort of used to it. 
When we would arrive at school, they would demonstratively stay in close proximity, usually one on either side of me as with the ride, until the other kids in the playground had registered our presence. Then without a word or anything else, they would turn in sync and disappear to their own class. I don’t think my friends knew what to make of this, I certainly didn’t! This routine went on quite some time. My friends badgered me about it, asking who they were and how come I was getting this “treatment”. I tried to convince them that I was totally in the dark about it all, but I don’t think they believed me. 
And then one fateful morning before we left for school, I in a momentary lapse of emotional imbalance gave them all my cuddly toys, including my one and only Rupert Bear, much to the bewilderment and annoyance of my mother. 
I still to this day have no idea why I did this. Maybe they had developed a hypnotic hold over me in some way, it’s all a bit vague and long ago. What I do remember is that I never saw them again after my “toy purge”. I wonder if that was their motive from the outset, or behind it there was a dare to see how quickly they could manipulate someone into submission. Will never know. 
And the result of this? Of course as with most purging one regrets it afterwards and from this uncanny contact I developed a high respect for the manipulative powers of “girl kind”. Learning from them has been a lifetime experience and maybe now some of it is starting to rub off onto Abigale. 
Okay, I’m not that manipulative, 
well maybe a little.