I was sitting here, minding my own business, desperately trying to get stubborn Ash and even stubborner (I know, I made it up, I’m a writer, I make things up) Kaleb to throw caution to the wind. It was going well and I paused to put the kettle on. Made my tea, may have taken two biscuits out of the biscuit barrel (oh, sod off—yes, it was three we know it was three, get off my case!) and went back to the computer. I’m glad I had hold of the cup tightly because I had a visitor… Reggie, the precocious six year old from Mr Popsalos.
I’d been so into Ash and Kaleb, I’d forgotten Reggie was coming round for to shoot the breeze over a strawberry milkshake and some cookies. I know, I know, I said biscuits up above, but he tells me if I want to write American, I have to talk American. So here we are, beverages have been supplied and we are munching on the cookies, so I ask him how his week has been and let him take the floor… I wasn’t really expecting the political minefield he took me across with his innocent questions.
(FYI – I’m in italics because it’s pretty and I’m the girl)
I’ve got a worry.
Yeah, but I don’t want Daddy or Jamie to know.
(Uh-oh) Okay. Do you want to talk to me about it?
(He looks me up and down, a pensive look on his little face, then nods) I guess. I mean you’re a mommy, right? So you know how to do this stuff. Daddy’s okay, but he gets all red and puffs out his cheeks. Jamie’s better at it though. I guess its cause he’s a teacher.
Hit me with it.
We have a new girl in our class. Her name is Annabelle. She has really pretty yellow hair and she puts a bow in it. But it’s not a real bow, it’s a clip on. Kinda like Daddy’s bow tie he wears to parties. You’ve seen it, right?
(Oh, good God, yes) I know the one you mean.
But hers is pink and Daddy’s is purple. (I nod and wait expectantly, sure there’s more… but knowing from experience it’s going to take a while to get there. He swings his legs, sips his milkshake and eats another cookie… I’m still waiting, then it all comes out in a rush) I want to kiss her but Bobby Pope says I can’t.
Who died and made Bobby Pope…um… pope? (I know, I know. And I’m not advocating snogging between six year olds honest.) I mean, why can’t you kiss her?
He says because my Daddy kisses boys, I have to kiss boys, too, and I’m not allowed to kiss girls. Is that true? Just because Daddy likes to kiss Jamie, I have to kiss boys and not girls?
(Right now, in this very moment, I want to punch Bobby Pope’s lights out. Or at least Bobby Pope’s bigoted parents’ lights out. What the hell do I say? And how do I say that kissing boys and girls is okay without it sounding like gobby Bobby is right and that he has to kiss boys because his father is gay? I go for the chicken’s approach…) What do you think? Do you want to kiss boys?
Ewww… no, that would be gross. Who would I kiss?
Um… I dunno. What about Mikey? He’s nice (what the fuck am I talking about?)
Nah, he eats his own boogers, what if he had one on his lip? (We both shudder) I really want to kiss Annabelle. (Annabelle is said on a breathy sigh and I bit the inside of my cheek to stop myself from laughing out loud.)
But you don’t mind Daddy kissing boys… well, kissing Jamie?
(He shakes his head and wipes off another milk moustache.) Nah, I just close my eyes ‘til it’s over, or go to my room, cause it’s embarrassing.
Why? (He looks at me like I’m insane.) Because they’re like, really old and stuff. (of course, why didn’t I think of that? I mean it’s obvious isn’t it?)
So, what do you think the answer to your worry is then, Reg?
(He ponders for a few moments and then straightens his shoulders as if a light bulb has just appeared over his head.) I think you should be allowed to kiss whoever you want. And if I wanna kiss girls I’m gonna. But if, when I’m older, I wanna kiss boys like Daddy and Jamie. That would be okay, too.
Reggie Fisher, you can’t argue with that logic my friend. Have another cookie. (I lean in to match his movements as he leans in closer to me and whispers.)
You know what? I think Bobby Pope wants to kiss her himself, but she said he’s got bug breath and if he came near her she was going to spray him with her soda.
I nod in agreement and smile, because I think he’s right… or maybe gobby Bobby really wants Reggie to kiss him…