She would not apologize for throwing a party to celebrate her last menstruation.
“Oh, but I will have a bash, if only to bash the preconceived notion that we women have any reason to be bashful about our body’s machinations,” she declared when her husband paled at the idea and her sons bloomed into a matching shade of pink.
“We gals bleed for a good chunk of our lives,” she pressed on, ignoring the slight green hue that crept onto her sons’ faces. “It is the blood of life, the blood of disappointment, or relief, or missed opportunity … but it is our blood, made by our bodies and relinquished so new lining can accept a future product of intercourse.”
“Mom …” her eldest groaned, but she silenced him with one of her ‘looks’ and glared a warning at her youngest, who appeared ready to chorus. At seventeen and sixteen they had squirmed through several variations of “the talk” in their lives, and would survive this one, too. Especially as they were old enough to be instrumental in causing a female’s monthly cycle to not cycle … If they were capable of ravishing girls’ bodies with more than their eyes, they should be able to stomach the realities of what girls’ bodies are capable of, as well as what women both endure and celebrate.
“I’m not going to force you to be here for the party,” she clarified. The vivid relief on all three of her menfolk’s faces was hilarious even if she couldn’t help being somewhat insulted. “What I will not do is lie about what this party is for.”
Her body had reached a milestone, and she wasn’t going to pretend it was nothing worth a mention. Not when the two young men (and the one which had preceded them but never made it through to birthing) were proof of the very miracles that female bodies – like her own – had been capable of till now. This called for proper celebration.
She rummaged in her bag and pulled out a scribbled-on napkin. “Let’s see. I’ve made a list. There will be invitations, perhaps shaped like uteri, or like tampons. I hadn’t decided.”
Now that her attention was no longer fully on them, her sons eyed each other and began to beat a slow but determined retreat. She raised an eyebrow in their direction and did not challenge them, but when her husband deigned to follow his offspring, she tapped the seat next to her in more order than invitation.
He’d learned long ago that anything to do with “women’s time” was best not argued with or over. He hadn’t the foggiest idea what it would be like to have a period (or be pregnant or lose one or give birth or nurse babies, for that matter), and he wasn’t sure he wanted to have more of an idea of any of it. Certainly not the bloody business, which always gave him the queasy willies. So he kept his mouth shut and nodded at what he thought were appropriate intervals as his wife kept on with her planning monologue.
It did not stop his mind from sending fervent prayers that Carrie or Michelle or Linda, or anyone with double-X chromosomes, and therefore far more suited for such planning, would stop by or call and rescue him from being his wife’s audience.
“So,” she enthused, “for the cake? What do you think? Red velvet?”
His favorite. Well, not anymore.
He didn’t think he’d be able to touch the stuff again.