You thought this was going to be some kind of S&M scenario, didn’t you? Rest assured, you won’t need a safe word to read this story.
But seriously, I really did get tied up—by a neighbourhood kid when we were seven. We were playing in his backyard when suddenly, I can’t remember why, he tied me to a garden trellis with a skipping rope. There was rake involved somehow too. I had limited upper body strength (if you could see me at the gym now, you’d see THAT hasn’t changed) and I wasn’t able to undo my tethers. He left me there for some time. As demonstrated by my current freedom, he obviously returned at some point to untie me.
It’s crazy the things we remember with such incredible clarity decades later—which is made all the more remarkable since now, at the ripe old age of 40-something, I can’t remember a damn thing. I couldn’t possibly tell you my kitty corner neighbour’s name even though I just knew it. And then forgot it. And was reminded of it. And then forgot it again. I could ream off a laundry list of things I forget on a weekly basis. Wait, the laundry! I forgot to move the wash to the dryer. Great, now it’s going to be all stinky. Getting old is lame, so let’s just forget I mentioned it. I know I will.
So that rope-happy kid from all those years ago, I remember so much about him. I can’t really picture his face anymore. Although I could probably still describe his penis to you because he showed it to me every chance he got. Today that kid would be charged with committing a lewd act and sent for therapy. But back then, he was just a seven-year-old boy who wanted to share how cool his goods were.
All I was interested in, however, was sliding down his laundry chute. Not a euphemism. He really did have a chute in an upstairs bathroom cupboard that led directly into a giant laundry basket a floor below. I can’t say for sure if his mother knew we used it as a slide reminiscent of the scene in Poltergeist where Carol Anne and her mother are spewed from the netherworld and plummet to the floor from a hole in their living room ceiling. I suspect his mom knew about our plummeting, but didn’t care because bubble wrap hadn’t been invented yet. Also, she was fully engrossed in her soaps and was enjoying a menthol cigarette with her Sanka.
I remember stepping on a bee in his backyard. His mom put some kind of cream on the sting and then made me a peanut butter and honey sandwich—somewhat ironic on account of the whole bee thing.
I had dinner at their house once and they served beef tongue. I was disgusted, but ate it to be polite. I remember how crazy chewy it was. I haven’t eaten tongue, minus my own, since but I’m glad I had the experience because when I was asked years later, “Have you ever eaten tongue?” on a list of questions aimed at determining your level of adventurousness, I was able to answer, yes.
There are so many random moments that make up the memories our of childhoods. This boy is just a blip, but the memories I have of him are strangely clear. I don’t know where he is or what he’s doing now. Maybe he’s a dad? Maybe he’s in prison? I mean, if he didn’t grow out of that “I’m gonna just tie you up” phase, it’s a possibility.
I wonder if he remembers me at all?