A short tale of how a young boy learns about life
| Recalling that I was about ten years old, I had no idea how the world worked and there was no one to tell me. My father was busy working three jobs and my brother, five years older than me, hated me from the time I was born. While he and I lived in the same house with the same parents, he had little to do with me. It was a really fractured family; dysfunctional to the max. But the funniest darn thing happened one day that bears telling.
My brother, an avid science fiction reader, would oftentimes spend an hour or more in the bathroom reading his books. No one else could use the bathroom till he vacated and that was only done on demand from my father, when he was home. My mother had no say in my brother’s activities and if he stayed in the bathroom an hour, well that’s the way it was till my father got home.
Early one evening, while my brother was in the bathroom reading, I supposed, I was passing the bathroom door and heard a sound, much like a frog made. I stopped and listened at the door, but heard nothing else. I was curious about a frog in the bathroom. After my brother did vacate the only bathroom in the house, I went in, closed and locked the door and searched for the creature. I didn’t find it but knew there was no sense asking my brother because he would only blow me off somehow, so I dropped the matter.
A couple days later, my brother was in the bathroom, again. It was in the afternoon and I was in my bedroom, situated near the bathroom door, and heard, again, the sound of a frog. This time when my brother vacated the sanitary facility, I watched him as he walked across the hallway and into his bedroom, closing the door. He did not appear to be carrying anything, the likes of a frog or toad, therefore, in my young mind and inexperienced imagination, I figured the frog or toad had to still be in the bathroom. Again, I went in and was immediately repulsed by a strange and strong odor, the likes of which I had never smelled. I closed and locked the door and searched the bathroom from top to bottom, even taking all the dirty clothing out of the hamper. No frog. Only this time, my mother came to the bathroom and discovered I was in there and yelled at me to get out. I stuffed all the dirty clothes back in the hamper and opened the door to leave. She continued to rail on me for something while I walked into my bedroom. She went into the bathroom and closed the door.
The next day was Saturday. I was with my friend Bruce Duncan. We were messing around at his house, as young boys do, and he saw the perplexed look on my face and asked why. Then I told him about the frog I hear when my brother is in the bathroom and search though I might, I never find the little creature. Bruce laughed heartily and I just stood there looking at him wondering what was so funny. It was then I learned about flatulating or breaking wind. Bruce’s term was ‘farting.’ My face turned a beet-red and I was embarrassed at my ignorance. Of course, that day I learned several new things. Since then, each time I’m on the throne in the bathroom, reading as I am wont, I’m very conscious of my own body passing gas that someone else may hear. Would my own seven-year-old daughter think I had a frog in the bathroom?