When I was 7 years old, I stayed over at Auntie G`s house. She was the FPU`s childhood friend and had no kids and her husband was abroad. As far as I could remember that was the first time I’d been allowed to sleep over at anyone’s place. There could have been other sleep-overs before then, but not that I can recall. I still remember, and will always remember, this one.
Auntie G was happy to have me over. She asked the FPU to let me come a bit early and I was there at 5pm. She made me cookies and hot chocolate, which I loved (Clearly decadence was always in my makeup). She did not mind that I would be spoiling my appetite. The FPU would`ve freaked. Immediately, she was categorised into my mental filing system as, Really Cool Auntie G. She made yellow rice and beef stew. It was yummy. She even let me stay up late to watch Tele I was never allowed to watch Dallas at home. This was the lifeâ€¦
I was a very curious child (well, you all know that I`m still curious) and I asked her questions non-stop. She obliged and seemed really happy to answer any question I asked her (which, in retrospect, was very nice of her. I can`t imagine it was too intelligent). I felt so grown up.
Later, after a bath and wearing my pajamas, I jumped into her huge bed where she spread her wedding pictures, which I`d seen before, but very quickly because the grown ups wanted to see them. Now, they were all mine. I asked questions about each and every picture. Her pictures in her wedding dress mesmerized me. I’d never seen anyone in a black wedding dress before. I asked her about it and she went to her wardrobe asking me to shut my eyes till she told me otherwise. I did. When I opened them she was holding the dress against herself. With brutal childlike frankness I remarked that she looked very sad. She smiled but she did not look pleased. She put it away and said Sleep time now. She switched off the light and got in bed.
She started telling me a story, which bored me. I asked her how she met her husband. Surely, that was more interesting than the fairytale she was telling me. She laughed and said, That`s not important. I am married and that is important
What do you want to do when you grow old? She asked.
Go to University I guess.
Become a doctor.
Because I think doctors are important, earn lots of money and are liked by people. (Even then I prioritised strangelyâ€¦lol)
I felt so good to be able to talk to an adult so freely. She’s so cool I thought.
And then? She interrupted my thoughts.
Rather get married and have babies. You`re a girl.
Silence. She`d fallen asleep
I don`t want to be a girl anymore. I don`t want to get married, I told myself.
The next day over lunch the FPU asked, What did you tell Auntie G last night huh? Seven-year-old girls don’t think about getting married and having babies. They concentrate on their homework, don’t stay up late or watch TV and they don` eat cookies before supper.
I felt as if someone was squeezing my insides. I felt a pain in my heart. The food I was eating was suddenly tasteless.
Later, when I grew up, I realised that that was the day I got my first taste of broken trust.