There was a pause, a moment of uncertainty, a chance to save himself, but then a defiant, “Yeah, Mum, I do.” Taking a deep breath, the Mother replied, “Do you want the short explanation or the long one?” Again, a moment or two to think and then, “The short one,” he answered.
The Mother then took the plunge and began to explain the menstrual cycle in all its glory. As she explained, she noticed something incredible. Something more incredible than periods, conception and the whole world of childbirth. Her son had not interrupted her, not once. For the whole duration of her explanation, he had not uttered one single word. It was a miracle.
At the end of it all, there was a look on Aaron’s face that at first she could not interpret. What was it? Had it been too soon for the talk after all? Had it been too gory? Should she have been more scientific? Had she now damaged her son in some irreparable way? Did he even believe her?
The Mother was not sure what kind of response she had expected from her son, but it definitely wasn’t anger.
“I said the short version,” he said loudly and defiantly.
“That was the bloody short one,” said the Mother.”
He stared at her for a few seconds and then said, “And this happens to all women?”
“Yes,” said the Mother.
“And it happens every month?”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m bloody sure,” retorted the Mother.
Several weeks later, when Aaron had fully recovered from their little chat, the Mother found him rummaging through her bag.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking for sweets,” he replied without looking up, “Esme said you had a pack of Crunchies in your bag.”
He continued rummaging through her stuff – her make-up, keys, scissors, Sellotape, Lego cards, an uneaten, bruised banana and several glue sticks. Then suddenly he stopped and looked at his mother, still, I might add crunchieless.
“Jesus, Mum, why have you got all these tampons in your bag? You only have one period a month, don’t you?”