Bored at home, I was arranging the mess I had created during the week. Some went left, others right, some went into the cupboard, some straight into the bin. Amidst the clearing and cleaning with a song being played in the background, I stumbled upon a blood stained cloth. I sat down in the middle of the mess and put my memory capabilities to work. Time flew by and the songs had stopped playing. And there I was, still trying to recollect all the injuries I have had in the past few months. Nothing major came up, that could have created such a mess.
Tired, I got up & resumed the task and re-played the Playlist, which ended a while ago.
During the process, I found a packet. Black packet, between the tops and tee shirts, that had created a colorful mess inside the doors of the almirah. Opened, I had a something in my hand, cleanly wrapped with an old newspaper. A little smile appeared on my face, for i knew what was inside. Sanitary Napkin!
First the stained cloth and now this! I was smiling inside for how long it has been since i attained puberty. Almost a decade! But the memory of my first cycle was as clear as ever.
Tomboyish i was, with no real ‘GIRL FRIENDS’ to have interacted with on a daily basis. Busy with sports and studies, I barely had time for the pointless drama, the ladies used to do. Resultantly, I missed on various important things.
Back from a basketball match, wet in my own sweat & red under the blazing sun , I went to the washroom to get some cold splashes onto my face. Went inside the washroom, I was all nervous!
I was bleeding from the part I had no evident memory of getting hurt in. Scared to death, I came out as a woman. But little did I know what was wrong! Maybe it was because of the door I climbed yesterday. Or maybe because of the fall I had during the match today. Out in the fields, I was worried for the white skirt, which would soon change its colour. No matter how comfortable a tomboy is with her friends, she would never talk beyond a line with her ‘BOY FRIENDS’.
One and a half hours still left and i was clueless of how I was supposed to behave!
I started thinking of the options I had. I could go to the sick room!
But what would I say? What has happened to me? What if she tells me to show her, if I had a wound down there?
“No no! Bad idea!” I told myself.
“I could maybe tell a girl” still confused.
Suddenly going to a girl and saying stuff like this was awkward. I was the Man after all! (that’s what I had considered myself to be).
Though I was not under the sun anymore, yet I was sweating like I was. Tensed, nervous and thinking about the various possibilities, I kept on standing the whole time. Told teachers that my back was aching too much for me to sit. Good that I had a class of 60 other pals, the teacher would not bother on a standing student till she disturbed. And today, I was in no mood to disturb the class or have fun creating nuisance.
Paying frequent washroom visits, I confirmed and re-confirmed of what I thought I had seen. Wiping it away and cleaning the undergarment with a piece of paper, I was tired of washing my hands again and again.
Finally, the school got over and I boarded an empty bus where only i could be seen standing among the empty seats. Though others did not maybe care, I was too conscious for what others would be thinking- ‘What a stupid girl!’
As soon as I got home, I grabbed a mirror and saw the places of my body I had never explored till the 16 years of my age. No injury visible to my eyes, not even a cut. I was nervous again.
Applying Dettol and Savlon was not helping.
‘What do I do?’
“What to wear”
Alone at home, I started waiting for my mother and rehearsing the lines I would tell her. I wanted to sound convincing!
“Mom, I swear I will never jump off the pointed gates you warned me, not to climb off”
“God promise, I would not play amidst the sharp stones you hate seeing me play with”
And an unending list of confessions!
Hours later, the bell rang.
I rushed towards the door and finally- It was mom!
“How was your day?” I smiled like I was the sweetest daughter she could ever get.
Trying to be as normal as ever, I served her water and went inside the kitchen to make some tea and snacks and give the rehearsed lines some last perfection touches. Came out with the tray in hand and some droplets on the forehead, I was shivering with fear.
“Maa, I did not do anything.”
“I did not even fall.”
All a lie. I kept on blabbering for minutes.
Sipping her tea and looking at me bewildered, she asked me- “What happened?”
That’s it!. The patience was over. I was waiting for her to ask this and I was dripping with tears poring down my cheeks, crying like a 6 year old.
“Maa, I am bleeding!” I started with my news.
“I don’t know why.” I continued.
“I promise, I’ll listen to you always, just stop this for now.”
And I could see her smiling.
She was smiling!
I started questioning myself.
“Is she my mom? My own mother , I mean”
“Am I adopted?”
“Maybe, I don’t resemble my mother at all for this reason alone.”
Mothers generally care too much.
And here was mine, smiling over something I had been crying on, since afternoon.
She took me to her room, opened the cupboard and handed me over a white colored fluffy thing, advertisements of which would interrupt her serials every night. Stayfree, Whisper, with wings, without wings, gives you wings, stay on for hours, leak proof and don’t know what not!
She taught me how to use it and not to be worried.
“Its normal and every girl has it, every month.”
“How could I not notice the advertisements? Man! I was a fool.” I thought
After a shower, I finally lied down on the mattress I had, thinking of how stupid and unaware I was. I wish I had Google handy back then, I would not have wasted the day worrying and panicking unnecessarily.
Next day, a different version of periods took over. I was over enthusiastic, all eager to yell and tell the world that I had my first cycle ever! But sometimes, that’s too difficult for a tomboy, because they are no one’s own, nor the girls or the boys.
Throwing the black packet in the bin, I was still smiling.
And I was done cleaning and dusting, both the room and the memories! 🙂