Questions THEY ask

Thola, what does kissing feel like? Do you wear pyjamas when you go to bed? Why do you and your boyfriend share a bed? Thola, why don’t you wear a bra? Thola, do you also wear g-strings like my mom? Why do your pants go so tight over your bum? Thola do you know Daniel Radcliffe? What do you mean Daniel Radcliff gets naked with horses?

I have had the absolute pleasure of spending Monday and Wednesday afternoons with 3 inquisitive siblings who ask me questions that I never quite know how to answer. I often find myself being far too honest. Giving my opinions far to viscerally. I am learning now, that it is ok to fabricate my answers somewhat.

I was told, by the oldest, 11,  whilst telling a romantic story, to embellish on my stories because “They aren’t Romanic enough.” She told me what type of story she wanted me to tell her and then sat back and waited for me to tell the story exactly as instructed.

How does one tell a Romantic story to an 11-year-old without making them scream? I have learnt that screaming and blocked ears whilst humming means my story is bad, gross or embarrassing. When my story is boring, I just get raised eyebrows as if to say, “Oh my god, your life is so lame Thola.”

Things that are classified as bad, gross or embarrassing are: kissing, falling asleep in a bed with my boyfriend. Swimming in a bikini, wearing heels, bathing, not wearing pyjamas and so on. I learn these things only as they ask me for details.

Details such as: “What were you swim in?” And when I answered,  bikini, screaming and ear blocking followed. Or, “What shoes were you wearing?” My answer was heels. Screaming….. It’s hilarious.

I have learnt fast that I can not laugh or I am told loudly that I am weird and embarrassing. I was asked the other day to describe what a kiss felt like. Oh, no, what do I do? Should I describe the truth? Should I play it down? Must I try and tell them what I think they want to hear? It is important for me to add that at this point, I am enjoying their reactions, so.

A kiss: “It’s warm and soft, depending on who you are kissing.” Pause to, surreptitiously gaze into the review mirror, and gauge to know if I should carry on. I carry on. “Sometimes if you open your mouth it’s wet.” Screaming and shouting and pretend-vomiting sounds come from the back seat.

The 11-year-old shouts at me, “Why would you open your mouth?” Good question, I have absolutely no idea why we open our mouths. How weird. Why do we open our mouths? The best answer I can come up with is, “It feels nice.” More vomit sounds from the back…..

One day the 8-year-old started telling me about his love of Harry Potter. He spoke about Harry Potter for about 20 mins. That’s a long time for my brain, in traffic, in a hot car with no air-con or power steering.  He then wondered aloud if Daniel Radcliffe was in any other movies or was famous for anything else? Without thinking about the gravity of my comment I said, “Yes, he gets naked with horses in a play.”

Silence filled the car. I wish my mouth didn’t work so fast. I tried to distract them by pointing out a cool car on the road next to us. I tried talking about Harry Potter spells. I even tried to talk about romantic stuff in Twilight and spells in  Lord of The Rings. They were having none of it. A little voice from the backseat,  “What do you mean he gets naked with horses?” Uh…..

I don’t know anything about Equus, but now I have gone and mentioned it. So I say, “Equus is a play, a very famous play.” I think. “It is every actors dream to be in a famous play. Daniel Radcliffe was in this play because he wanted to gain experience.” My answer is not good enough. The rest of the journey home, the 8-year-oldd is quiet and thinking….. Oh no. What have I done?

image credit. PavaBlog – Alyson Villalba

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