I could tell that something was going on with Laura but when Reny and I confronted her, she replied, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Typical teenager behavior I think. We respected her wishes and didn’t push. Sort of. I was dying to know what was up and it was tearing me up inside. Of course, I wanted to know what was wrong and to see if I could help but there was also an immature gossip girl, hankering to get her (read: my) claws into a juicy story. I know, I know. Juvenile, party of one, your table is ready.
A few days later, I gently asked again, and this time I could tell that she wanted to talk, to unburden herself, but was trying to put up a tough front. We sat on my bed and I told her to spill it because I knew that she would feel better after she did. I knew I would.
She told me the reason why she had been upset and she asked me not to tell anyone, especially her father. I promised her that I wouldn’t, therefore, I cannot write it here. Suffice it to say, it was boy related. Aren’t they all?
The point of my adorable tale is this; by not telling Reny, I feel as if I’m lying to him and I have never lied to him. On the other hand, I don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with Laura and the confidence that she’s put in me, to keep my pie hole shut. What a kosher pickle this is.
I know how it feels to tell a parent something in confidence and then be betrayed by said parent. It blows.
I was in eighth grade and babysitting a neighbor’s kids. I hated babysitting for that family. There was never anything to eat, the kids were dorks (and that’s coming from a dork) and the husband creeped the crap out of me. I remember him driving me home one night, and when he pulled into my driveway said, “Okay, pussy, thank you for your help.”
Ew on every f’in level. I convinced myself that he didn’t mean it in a vaginal way, and that it was a throw back to his generation when the word pussy actually meant pussycat, but it wigged me out just the same.
Even at 13, it sounded gross and inappropriate. If that had happened today, although I’m not sure why I’d be babysitting at my age, or getting rides home, since I have my own car, I’d report him to the authorities and google sex offender’s in my neighborhood to see if he’s on the list.
I got my period for the first time that night. When I got home and told my mother, she was beside herself. She didn’t know what to do. Come on old lady get it together. How about finding me something to sop up this mess, so I don’t soil my Carter’s. It would be years before I discovered thongs!
She pulled out a goddam belt contraption, complete with suspender thingy, from underneath the sink, that looked like it had been around since the 50’s. What the f? My mom told me that I was too young for tampons, and that she wanted to ask the doctor to make sure that it was okay to shove something up inside of me at my age. That was really maternal and thoughtful of her, but I’m pretty sure that I would’ve been able to handle it. Just saying.
I begged and pleaded with her to keep this latest development between the two of us and not to tell my dad. She promised and I went into my bedroom to read more Judy Blume. Not ten minutes later, there was a knock on my door. It was my dad. He sat down on the edge of my bed, and I swear, I think he had tears in his eyes.
“Congratulations. I’m so proud of you. You’re a young woman.” Okay, first of all, thanks mom, you suck. Really, dad, congratulations? For what? It wasn’t like I studied and aced a test, or made the basketball team. I didn’t see this as an accomplishment. I also wished that he didn’t say woman, because at that age, certain words, like woman, sounded icky to me and made me terribly uncomfortable.
The whole ordeal was sheer embarrassment. At least he had the good sense to put on pants before he came into my room. My dad often paraded around the house in what I affectionately call, nut-huggers.
After my mother let her loose lips get the best of her, I decided that I would never tell her anything personal again. That lasted until I lost my virginity because I wanted to share the news with her. I’m nothing if not a sharerer. I clearly had Alzheimer’s. But thank Allah that my dad didn’t pay me another visit.
I can understand Laura not wanting to share certain things with her father. Reny comes from an old world Portugal family. There weren’t a lot of sit-downs with his parents, talking about their feelings or anything remotely having to do with sex, unlike my hippy dippy, consciousness raising, pot smoking, pottery making, denim cap wearing, Three Dog Night listening, parents. I wish I’d been from Portugal.
I’m going to keep Laura’s confidence and not say anything to her dad. If I thought she was hurting herself or someone else, or that the law was after her, then I would tell Reny. When it comes to matters of the heart, I believe that it is the individual’s choice as to who they want to share with.
What would you do?