I was in elementary school…maybe 6th grade. Or, I might have been a little older, like middle school. But, that is neither here nor there.
I came home from school, threw my purple book bag down next to the washing machine, kissed my Siamese cat Kyoto who was always perched by the door waiting for my arrival and ran into the kitchen to find a snack. Which, in my parents house, was nearly impossible due to the fact that my parents didn’t believe in having anything good to eat in the pantry. Or the fridge, for that matter.
I noticed a bag from a bookstore sitting on the kitchen counter next to the toaster oven. I decided to peek inside. It’s from a bookstore and sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter and maybe it was something good to read while I ate my snack, assuming I would find one.
Figuring it was a new Jackie Collins novel or Harold Robbins, after all, this is the 1980’s, I reached in the bag and took out the books.
It took a moment for my mind to register what burned my eyes.
So, I did what any hormonal pre-teen or early teen aged kid would do…
I perused the pictures.
Drawings of people having sex. In all sorts of positions. And my mom bought those books. Which means…
I threw them back in the bag and went to the bathroom to throw up. Or maybe it was just to pee. My memory is foggy on those details.
When I went back into the kitchen, the bag was gone and my mom was cheerfully standing there. As though nothing was unusual. Or gross.
Blushing, because I’m sure I blushed, I asked her about the books.
She looked at me, straight and unblinking, in the eye and told me that she surely had no clue what I was talking about.
Now, I know she’s not around to defend herself anymore. I assure you, aside from aesthetic details, my memory of this whole incident is unflawed and forever scarred in my brain. And my eyes.
I brought this up again. For years. A lot. Because, I KNEW i wasn’t crazy, that I saw what I saw.
In fact, I brought it up recently, probably a few months before she died.
She still maintained that, essentially, I was hallucinating the whole thing. That clearly I was on some sort of drug at the time and why would she, a dignified woman, buy the book “The Joy of Sex” and its companion, “The Joy Of Sex 2”.
Today, I had the very emotional task of going through her closets to choose which sweaters and shoes I would like to inherit. It was horrible and fun, all at the same time. Because honestly, my mom had awesome taste and I’ve been lusting after her stuff for years. Which doesn’t mean that I wanted her to die so that I could get them, I’d much rather her be alive and me “borrow” her clothes without her knowledge, like I used to do when I was living at home.
In her closet, she had piles of stuff. Pictures, hangers, purses, shoes, garbage.
As I was rummaging through all of this, I came across something that felt like…well, I couldn’t quite tell because the lighting in their room sucks and their closet has no light but, it felt very much like books.
I pulled them out thinking, perhaps, a photo album or something else.
Sure enough, I found the evidence…
The Joy of Sex 1 and 2, hidden in the far recesses of my parents closet, out of prying eyes of children and, most likely, long forgotten.
I threw them back into the bottom of the closet. Scarred eyes freshly bleeding…
Parents don’t do that stuff. I mean…EW.
But ha Mom, if you’re reading this on the internet in Heaven,
I TOLD you I wasn’t crazy!
And yes, I left those books on the floor of the closet where they’ve been hidden for…hopefully since she bought them. I’ll stick with the shoes and sweaters. I don’t think I’d ever want to use THAT kind of book if my parents did. Well, not THEIR copies.