There’s an egg stuck in my hen’s butt. I watch her strut around with her feathery friends oblivious to the rear view display she’s putting on.
“Hon, I need your help,” I bellow from the Chicken Coop.
“What now,” he asks, exasperated from a morning of battling with a 9-year old about screen time.
“There’s an egg stuck in her butt,” I exclaim, no longer caring what our neighbors think.
“Really? That’s what you’re yelling about? Walk away. Check on her in 10-minutes and see if it’s still stuck,” he shouts back.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was onto something. In reality, procrastination is his MO for most things in life. I must admit, this style serves him well. Sometimes, things do have a way of working themselves out. Unless of course you wear white sweats in 5th grade.
An overachiever in the woman department, I didn’t understand the risks associated with certain clothing choices back then. I just knew my softball uniform sweats were the comfiest pants I owned that I could in fact wear to school. I was cramping and it seemed logical. I didn’t understand that my body was signaling the start to a love-hate relationship with my reproductive body parts that’d last for decades, break my heart and usher my greatest accomplishment into the world.
When Keith kicked my desk and suggested I go to the bathroom during social studies that fateful Friday, I was annoyed. He was acting weird and while my goal setting, boy crazy self had attempted to go steady with every boy in the class, we had broken up weeks before. This new found oddness was simply unbecoming of him. I shook my head and did my best to ignore him.
“No really,” he whispered urgently. “There’s something on your pants.”
“What,” I recall saying before the teacher reprimanded me for small talk.
Bewildered, I did my best to dismiss the conversation and focus on the history of Canada. I couldn’t help but glance over and notice Keith’s new found fascination with my butt. I was mortified.
“Why me? Why now,” I thought. Yes, puberty has packed on a few new curves but not enough to warrant this look. He gestured with his hands for me to tie a sweatshirt around my waist. I still didn’t understand but something in his eyes told me it was the right thing to do. I removed my sweatshirt and slid it behind my back. In-between classes, I firmly secured it around my waist and slid out of my plastic chair, only to see the magenta red smear he had been watching grow over the previous hour. The joys of womanhood had hit me hard and fast but Keith had managed to soften the blow.
Back at the coop, I remain in awe of my hen’s indifference to what hangs behind her. I find myself telling her it’ll all work out and believing it. I wander down to the lake to see how much ice has retracted from our shoreline while reliving the next few moments of my sweat pant drama. I didn’t die that day, although I wanted to. Thanks to Keith, I played out those mortifying moments I the privacy of a middle school bathroom stall, came up with a game plan, and finished my day off with extreme awareness of what was behind me.
As for the sweatpants, I’d go on to trade them for a thin, white spandex and silver sequined uniform packed with endless wardrobe malfunctions that’d make this feel like child’s play. It was the price of admission to be a majorette and twirl baton over swinging bats. In some ways, I credit my resilience and lack of fashion sense to these years of humiliating, yet humorous encounters.
Keith and I never spoke of the incident. We didn’t go on to become lifelong friends like they do in Hollywood movies. He was not my Maid of Honor at my wedding. At first, I avoided him like the plague. Later, our social circles kept us apart. But, to this day, I cannot help but think of how his random act of kindness saved me thousands of dollars in therapy bills.
I return to the coop. As Steve predicted, the egg issue is resolved. Inside, my 9-year old is yet again hungry. I grab the eggs as Mama mode kicks in. I find myself wondering, what would my son do in a similar situation? When is it too soon to have this conversation? To ensure he’s an ally and not an enemy to the girl in white sweatpants? The cycle continues. Just another day of motherhood. But first, coffee.
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