The Closet by Whitney Porter
She was always standing there. Always standing, with those long talon-like fingers pressed against her hips. Her withered look of disapproval, pulsing like a hemorrhage, a sleek green vein popping out the side of her neck. My mother, standing at the mouth of the walk-in utility closet, hovering over me, my pants half pulled down, with my best friend Bill pushing at my bare ass with an empty syringe he got from a toy doctors kit. This was how we played doctor. It was our version of I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. But why oh why was I always the one that was showing mine? Why the fuck didn’t Bill ever get caught showing his bare ass. Why wasn’t he on his belly exposed, compromised and vulnerable, in front of his homicidal mother? Why was I, the one caught time and time again, humiliated, with my ass hanging out of my pants? Why was it always me that was the patient and never the doctor?
As a little girl admittedly I was adorable, easily succumbing to the peer pressures of being desirable, a budding little ‘dyke to be’ irresistible to the neighborhood boys, similar, yet different enough for them to still be able to sexually objectify. With adorable round ballooning chubby cheeks, with greasy brown hair matted to my tiny peanut head, that I steadfastly refused to wash, that stiffened under the weight of the Texas sun, a mix of my own oils and outside contaminants that smelled like something deep and satisfyingly gamey, coming from the very bowels of the ditches that I spent most of my days exploring with an exceptionally large twig that I ripped out of some dying tree. I was a tomboy. I climbed trees. I spit on sidewalks. I chased our dog. I road our dog. In general I terrorized our dog. A poor pup if ever there was one. This wretched little runt, my family picked up in some puppy farm with collie eye, an inferiority complex, and a tenacious herding instinct that caused her often to be hit by cars. Repulsive little me, this butch oversexed five year old girl, assaulter of dead trees, abuser of helpless animals with collie blindness. Horny little me. I humped any sharp edge I could wrap my skinny little legs around. But me with my dirty knees and my crusty scabs, my little body as translucent, as pale as a ghost, and blistered by the sun, I was the object of desire for every nose picking boy tyke, that would eventually come out to be a preacher or a hairdresser. The congenital patient, locked in darkness conspiring in closets, head dusted with unused overcoats, my stomach impaled on a bed of my mom’s discarded shoes, it’s once sleek forms assaulted by my mother’s raging bunions, and oh what bunions like a tiny rugged mountain range, a little flesh covered slice of Appalachia mounted on each side of her foot, and there I was, my pants pulled down around my hips, my best friend Bill poking at my ass with a syringe, which really begs the question, who packs an empty syringe into a kids’ doctors’ kit? How fucked up were the 70s? Who gives a child a syringe? What were they trying to do? Train us for heroin addiction for when we finally realized how bankrupt our futures were going to be?
But I’ll admit it was thrilling. The poking. The prodding. The syringing. My bare ass out in the open, the breeze from the central air blowing across it like a gentle spring wind. We were five and this was sex. And my mommy for that’s what I called her then. My long lumbering willowy Mommy would stand above me, my neck half turned up in abject terror. Bill already out the door, the bed wetting little freak, running out the door, to be welcomed hopefully with a spanking from his own homicidal mother because that’s what parents did back then. Thank you ‘spare the rod spoil the child’, and any of its proponents. There’s a special place in hell for you. And I hope you’re in it. And I hope it’s an S&M club and that every safe word you utter gets the devil to hit you even harder. Left alone to face my fate. My shame. And my Mommy, my big long Mommy who I loved more than anything in the world, probably because she was an excellent player of peek-a-boo in my infancy, who I would during Sunday mass bury my face in, in the crook of her arms, shielding myself from the boredom of it, reveling in her warmth, or maybe just to avoid the off key utterances of bad Catholic chanting, she that I so wanted desperately to please, but couldn’t help but continue to disappoint, would tear up as she did seeing me ass out, splayed on the closet floor. Her singsong East Texas twang unleashed like a dagger, fanged syllables unending. “Whuut rrrrrr youuuuu dooooooing?’ Really? How is a five year old to explain this? What vocabulary did I have for this? I was humping toy chests at three fantasizing about Mini Mouse. How the hell did I know what I was doing? It’s doctor. It’s natural. It’s what little kids do. But bless her overly selective devout little Catholic heart, East Texas Catholic, a total oxymoron at that time, suspect, in a largely Protestant bucktoothed congregation, one of the few children in that town, whose mother didn’t marry her 1st cousin, little fuckers all of them. Mean as snakes. An unrelenting town, a stupid town, a small town, dry as desert much to my bourbon drunk Grandfather’s chagrin. What was little Betty Blue to do? What could she do if she were caught satisfying a carnal urge, hiked herself up on some kitchen counter, a stiff backed chair, a corner end table. Such a good Catholic girl caught hoisting herself on anything with a point. Little girls aren’t supposed to do this. Little girls aren’t supposed to do a lot of things that I did.
Whitney Porter is originally from Houston, Texas, But for the last several years she’s resided in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BA in Journalism from SUNY Empire State and currently studies at the Writers Studio with Philip Schultz. Her work has appeared in Battered Suitcase, Ping Pong Literary Magazine, Visceral Uterus and Craniotomic.
© 2012 – 2013, Metazen.