Disclaimer: for mature readers, references to sex and its existence may offend some blog-readers. Clutching of pearls may occur.
I remember this scene quite vividly, as certain events seem to impress themselves into the clay of my brain.
It was recess, and some kids were gathered around in a group looking at something. This would usually indicate that someone had brought an article from home that all the kids would marvel over as one would an early period Rembrandt. There was a strange gravity to the huddled group that day.
Such was the stagnancy of our recesses, I had brought a pair of sunglasses the other day from home (my mum’s) that I had worn and earned myself a meteoric rise to cooldom. This was a necessary boost since I still wore what my mother bought for me and I had a haircut that resembled Dee Dee Ramone’s.
Regarding ‘sex ed’, there was only a dim knowledge, as of a distant country that only existed in atlases. At that point (grade 4 or 5), sex was as remote and unknowable as those tropical islands that had ancient skirmishes that wiped out their entire civilization.
What we had found, were some torn up ‘gentlemen’s magazines’, some of which contained confusing and disturbing images. All the kids were perusing them with interest, turning them around in their hands, as if looking for imperfections.
I distinctly remember one child (a girl in a higher grade, and therefore was secretly in love with) who said in a high piping voice: ‘They’re xxxxing!’ (rhymes with clucking). I felt a weird thrill that was a strange amalgam of fear, shame, and excitement. The word alone (which we saved for special occasions) and its association with these images made its existence all the more unspeakably powerful.
Like pieces of the True Cross, we pocketed these magazine fragments to inspect privately. I did likewise, and they were later turned to mush as they became victims of the washing machine. If my mother found them, she made no indication. Perhaps the trajectory of my life might have changed had she discovered it.