I was on the playground in first grade, and girls were organizing themselves into groups to go behind this big oak tree and see Dusty’s penis. Dusty was a pudgy kid with a shaved head and an unintelligible little boy country accent. At six years old, he’d found his calling, and all the girls were reaping the benefits.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the first or second group selected for viewing, so I had nothing to do but use the playground for playing. I was pissed too, standing there in my culottes and Keds, watching the oak tree beyond the clearing. Girls were coming out from behind it in droves, whispering and cackling, screaming ‘Eww’ and falling all over the place having just viewed Dusty’s junk. I wanted to see what the big deal was, but there was a very specific selection process and I had to wait my turn.
Instead, I got roped into a game of tag that encompassed a big playground structure full of platforms and balls and jungle gym stuff. I was reticent to get involved in something else –I didn’t want to miss my chance to see what Dusty was all about—but I quickly got immersed in the task at hand, running around, screaming and tagging people.
There was this boy, Zack, on my team and he was pretty cute but I’d never really noticed him before. The game was getting intense and somehow he and I ended up stranded on a platform at the top of this big jungle gym thing looking down at our cohorts being ravaged on the playground below. We were alone and nearing the point of surrender, not really sure what to do.
For a second, I thought I was Rapunzel. I wanted to let down my golden hair so we could both climb down it. There was only one exit from the platform—a fireman’s pole that went all the way into a sand box roughly fifteen feet below. Our enemies had noticed us at the top of the platform and were rapidly ascending the far side of the structure. I looked desperately at Zack. What were we gonna do?
He took in the situation and then, in the ultimate Prince Valiant move, snaked one arm around my waist, reached out and grabbed the fireman’s pole, pulled me close and launched us both down it.
Time stopped for an instant.
I was Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I was in a forest wearing layered dresses and I had porcelain skin and real breasts (not socks), shoved into a bustier and long flowing hair that I could toss around, and no bedtime, or homework, or forced vegetable consumption. I was in a fairytale. I was the fairytale.
Zack and I made it down, a pile of child’s limbs thudding to a halt in the sandbox, tearing away before the other team could catch us.
Recess ended but, for me, it had just begun. I stared, starry eyed at Zack as he ran over to the water fountain wiping his muddy palms on his shorts.
I never saw Dusty’s penis. Shortly thereafter he was busted and his peep-show practice terminated. I was bummed, but a year later, I saw this other boy’s and decided it was something I was in no hurry to see again.
However, my experience with Zack, I couldn’t wait to replicate.