"Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked.
"Not really," she said, "What about you Richie, I mean I know it was mostly my idea, but I don't want to pressure you."
"Well," I began, "I thought so yesterday, I mean all I did was think about it. Heck I could hardly fall asleep last night I was thinking about it so much."
"Same here," Cindy replied softly looking down at her lap.
Cindy was the girl next door. She was my girl next door. We had been best friends since before kindergarten. We had played together during the weekends and we were in the same classes during the week. I had slept over at her house hundreds of times and she at mine. If my parents wanted to go out, her mom and dad took care of me just as if I were their own. I even called her parents mama-2 and papa-2, and she did the same with mine. Tim and Jan, my parents, loved Cindy like the little girl they never had. Jason and Aimee, her parents loved me the same. To say we were close would be an understatement.
Yesterday had been the last full week of school. Next year we would both be in 7th grade, middle school. As was always the case, Mr. Bowie, the science teacher, ended his school year with sex education. I guess he put it at the end of the year so that there would be no time for the students to dwell on the subject and ask those 'hard to answer' questions. It was also the only week that he separated the students by sex. Most of the time we were just a mixed class, cutting up frogs and learning all about the planets or whatever. But during the last week of school, all the 6th grade boys met during the fifth period right after lunch in his class. All the 6th grade girls met during sixth period just before going home. I guess that prevented the students from talking to each other about the subject matter during the school day.
But that didn't stop the kids from talking about it on the bus ride home. Johnny Wright had been true to himself that Friday afternoon when he got on the bus.
"Hey, look at what I found," he hollered out to everyone as he walked down the aisle towards the rear.
He was holding up a sanitary napkin ... shaking it as it unfolded.
"One of you girls lose your Kotex?" he laughed. "Or maybe you haven't hit your puberty growth spurt yet." He laughed again.
"You are such an idiot," Melanie Harper said. "You need to grow up Johnny."
"I bet it's yours Mel," Johnny began, "Supersize is just what you would probably need."
Melanie just glared at him not saying a thing. Melanie was big for her age and chubby as well. But she wasn't meek or timid. She would say what was on her mind and had no fear of Johnny or his teasing.
"Such an immature child," she said to everyone in general, and then turned to look out the window.
Johnny laughed all the way to the back of the bus, tossing the sanitary pad towards Melanie as he passed her before sitting down. Surprisingly, Melanie took it and folded it neatly and placed it in her purse. Maybe it was hers I thought.
After I got home I changed into my play clothes and went out back to the old cherry tree where Cindy and I met every afternoon. She was already there sitting on the big first branch.
"This is my favorite day of the school year," she said, "The last day of school."
"Well," I began, "Technically we meet next Monday for a half-day."
"Yeah," she said, "But that don't count. That is just for us to clean out our lockers, pick up our report cards, and say goodbye to the teachers."
"Did you know that before we leave Monday that we are going to go down to the cafeteria and eat ice cream?" I asked.
"Yeah, I heard that the teachers buy it out of their own pockets each year. I guess it is a ... what do you call it ... a tradition."
"I bet the teachers are as glad to get rid of us as we are to get out of elementary school too," I added.
"Probably so," she said.
I climbed up on the branch beside her. She slid across a tiny bit so there would be room for the both of us to sit.
"What did you think of the movie?" I asked changing the subject.
"It was kinda silly, but kind of interesting too," she replied. "I mean it was a lot like the one we saw in 3rd grade, but had a lot more information for older kids."
"Mr. Bowie said that the movie was designed for 8th graders and might be a little too explicit for us 6th graders. He said that if we didn't understand any part of it that we should take notes and ask our parents."
"It figures," Cindy said, "Pass the buck to mom and dad rather than answer our questions directly. He must think 6th grades are complete dolts."
"D'oh," I said performing my best Homer Simpson impersonation.
"I did learn a few things from the movie," Cindy began, "I learned that I oval-late only one day a month. Before the movie I thought you could get pregnant any day of the month."
"That's ovulate," I said correcting her. "I knew you could get pregnant the few days around your ovulation date, but I didn't know exactly when it was. I overheard my Aunt Kathy talking to my mom one day saying that she and Uncle Bill were going to be in bed for 12 hours straight because she was ovulating. I asked mom about it and she said that I shouldn't say anything to anyone about overhearing her and that it was impolite to eavesdrop on someone else's conversation, but she also added that Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bill were trying to have a baby and that today was the day that she dropped an egg.
I didn't understand the egg part. All I could imagine was she had a chicken egg in her hand and was dropping it on the floor. It didn't make sense to me at all and I just gave up thinking about it. I think I was only about seven at the time. Now that we saw the movie it all makes sense."
We sat there quietly for a while thinking silently and then Cindy spoke up.
"Do you remember before we started school how our moms would put us in the bath together?"
"Yeah, that was a long time ago," I replied.
"I wondered why they quit doing that after we started school. Now I can see why."
"Yeah," I said, "I guess it isn't a good idea for boys and girls to be in the same bathtub. I mean they might decide to have sex."
"I saw a movie once that I wasn't supposed to be watching," Cindy started, "And it had a guy and girl in a bathtub and they were kissing and he was grabbing her boobs and stuff and they were having sex."
"Really," I asked, "Did it show everything, you know, his weiner?"
"No," she said, "Not really, just her boobs and a lot of soap suds, but you got the idea what was going on. The girl in the movie was grunting and gasping, like she couldn't get enough air, and then the music got louder. The next thing you know, they were lying in bed next to each other, covered up with a sheet, except for their legs which were uncovered."
"Hmmm," I contemplated. "That never happened to us after our baths."
"We were too little then," Cindy stated matter of factly, "We couldn't have done anything with each other even if we had known how."
"And now," I asked, "Are we old enough now?"
"I don't know," she replied. "You know I have my periods now pretty regularly."
This was news to me. I had never thought of Cindy having a period. Actually I had never even thought about it at all. But I did understand, especially after the movie, that it was a sign she was growing up.
"When do you have them?" I asked.
"Oh, they started about 5 months ago, right around Thanksgiving. I've had one every month ever since. They only last about 2 days and then they are gone for another month. Mom said I needed to keep track of them so I put an X mark on my calendar. That way when another 29 days passes, I know I'm going to have my period, so I carry a pad with me and wear one under my panties those days at school."
"Oh yuck," I said, "Does it hurt, is it uncomfortable?"
"No hurt at all," she said, "Just a little messy at times, kind of like walking around with wet underwear. And it stinks too, like rust."
"Then it just quits?" I asked.
"Yep, then it's all over, and I smell better down below for the rest of the month." Then she paused and then asked me a question, "Richie, do you, you know, play with yourself?"
"You mean do I masturbate?" I asked.
"Yeah, that's the word," she replied, "Do you?"
"No, not yet," I said, "But according to the movie it happens at different times and ages for boys. It depends on how far into puberty they are."
"That's a funny word," she giggled. "I wonder how you can tell how far you are into puberty?"
"I think it is different for everyone," I said, "But with girls you can tell when they start having their periods and grow tits, oh yeah, and when they get hair on their pussy."
"My boobs are really small," she said with a little disappointment in her tone.
"They look fine to me, they are bigger than most of the girls, except for Ethel ... she has huge boobs."
"I think Ethel was held back in 2nd grade," Cindy said. "Do you ever get an erection?" she added.
"Sure, all the time," I said, "Mostly when I have to go pee really bad, or in the morning. But sometimes I get a boner without even trying to, and I have no idea what causes it."
"So have you reached puberty yet?" she asked me.
"I think so," I replied, "Or at least started on it. I mean I don't shave or anything, but my voice has squeaked a few times when I didn't want it to, and I have some hairs growing down below now that I didn't have last year."
"Really?" she asked with some excitement in her voice, "I have a few hairs growing down below too."
.... There is more of this story ...