Finally, the volleyball match. Not much to say, but it introduces something my daughter wanted to put in the story: the rules of cool. We get to see Julie trying to figure out what it means to be cool. Some foreshadowing for...
My life so far, episode 4: Nude with my parents
Letters : 11479 Words : 2179
Julie decides to try naturism with her parents. This is another episode written in separate steps between father and daughter. The ribs for example, came from the father, a lot of the rest from his daughter.
It was a lot weirder than with Clara. Right, Clara is Mindy's mother. Her father is Peter
Being nude in the company of Mindy, Clara and Peter is one thing. I had so far only undressed in the company of Mindy, but I also got dressed with Clara. In neither of these cases I was particularly awkward. A little with Clara, but I was more transfixed by her grace. I felt like having a preview of my womanhood.
But Kylie and Steven, mom and dad, it was an entirely different thing!
These were the people who grounded me when I was misbehaving. These were the people who scolded me when I didn't study well enough and didn't get the grades they expected of me. For fuck's sake, these were the people who just took away my dessert.
They had power over me. They fed me, they housed me, they clothed me. Even naturists need clothing.
I mean, I knew where babies came from. I was not an idiot. Not even then. I knew that Clara and Peter had sex to get Mindy. I even knew they most likely kept having sex. I was fine with that. Even if I saw Peter's dick and Clara's well, flower, and even if I knew he would get erect sometimes and enter that flower, it was still something foreign. Something other people did.
My parents, it disgusted me to even know they had sex at least once, to make me. I was perfectly fine thinking that all men, and all boys had penises, but surely, not my dad, right? And I knew for a fact that all women had vaginas, but not my own mother, right?
It's stupid. It's just a protection mechanism to dehumanize your parents. In short, It's only a trick to see these figures of authority as inhuman because if they are, in fact, as human as you are, then maybe, just maybe, you might have a kid hating you one day. And maybe they would hate you for doing exactly what you hated your parents for when you were a kid.
And that, wouldn't do.
But at that moment, seeing the look of my mother, sad for the pain she caused me, and my father, excited to share something with his daughter, I had enough empathy to see them as humans. To see them as people who cared about me.
I could remember all of the things they did for me. All of the times they put their lives on hold so I could be happy.
For a brief moment, my anger for their inadequacies as parents, was replaced by gratitude for their successes. For the times they were indeed there for me.
I don't know what came over me, but I hugged my mother. I don't think I had hugged her in a while, but it felt appropriate.
She hugged me back. Of course she did. At the instant, I knew that part of the problem was me. I had enough clarity and introspection to realize my anger at them was like a barrier to our relationship.
My father had tears in his eyes, but seemed frozen in place.
"I am sorry", I just said. I wasn't specific, but I think they got the gist of it because my mother told me something I never forgot.
"I was 12 once"
I couldn't picture it. Well, by the end of the evening, I could. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
"If you leave my room, I'll undress and join you for supper in the nude. Do what you want", I told them.
"Are you confident?"
"I'll never be ready, so I might as well jump in"
My mother nodded, and left my room, closing the door.
I could hear them talk, well, whisper, but not their words. I undressed, nervously. This wasn't like with Mindy or her parents. She was roughly my age, they were strangers.
But I did it anyway, and when I opened the door, nervous, I found my parents, nude, smiling.
It might be odd, but I didn't check them out. Well, I did check my mother's breasts, but not for the reasons you might think. I had half her genes, odds were good I would have her breasts and well, I could be fine with them. That's the extent of it.
I did notice they had full tans on their body but said nothing.
I closed my door and nervously walked to the kitchen, but in the process, exposed my back when I was closing the door.
"Julie, you have a sunburn on your butt.", says my mother, with a little panic.
Right. When I thought it would be hidden, I didn't think I would be nude in their company.
Still, she took care of me while my father put one of our frozen lasagna in the oven. We have this big freezer in the basement and my parents love to spend a Sunday afternoon cooking a ton of one item and freezing everything but one portion, which we eat for supper that evening.
My mother wanted to apply cream herself but I reminded her that I was old enough.
Yet, by the time I was done, I was used to the nudity with them too, and slowly, I was seeing them more and more like individuals.
They were no longer the unified parental unit. They were people with their own personality. I mean, I knew that. I wasn't stupid. And it's not naturism either, but rather just me, opening up to them.
I knew of course that they had different humor styles. My father was more into jokes and puns while my mother appreciated irony and awkward situations.
I was more in the middle. She showed me some Mr Bean episodes, which were really dated, and while my father hated them, I could see the humor and even laughed.
My father loves sitcoms that were witty, and while I hated most of them, I could tolerate a few. Not enough to remember them, years later, but enough to keep fond memories of seeing laugh at stupid puns.
I mostly stayed up, setting the table and putting towels on the chairs while the cream dried and my parents asked me about my day at school.
Why do they want to know? I wondered. School sucks, but I guessed it's them trying to show interest in my things.
I did ask them about their day, which is something I hadn't done in a while. They told me about a new shoe import contract they signed, which I didn't fully understand and to be honest, I still don't.
But still, it was pleasant, and my parents stayed standing up since I couldn't.
When the lasagna was ready, I was also ready to sit down, the conversation shifted to my visit at Mindy's.
To my complete surprise, they had zero anger at me going without their permission and instead, were curious about what I did there and how I felt.
They laughed at some of the stories from Mindy, and were proud of me for my services in badminton.
"We used to play volleyball a lot with Mindy's parents and another couple we were friends with. Maybe the six of us can be a team?", my father proposed
"I am not great at volleyball"
"Sugar, we practiced last summer and in my book, you were good enough."
Sugar, he used to call me that, before the anger. Before the withdrawal.
"Could we practice this weekend?", I asked
"It would be my pleasure"
"But with suntan this time, little lady", said my mother, in a playful tone.
"Hey, I told Mindy we should put sunscreen, but she said we wouldn't be out for long"
"Areas which do not tan often tend to burn faster. You'll need a few years for your skin to get used to it", my father explained.
"Why are you still fully tanned?" I asked.
"Well, we sometimes hang out in the backyard when you are at school", my mother admitted
"Wait, we can be nude in the backyard?"
"Why do you think we have tall hedgerows?"
"Why are we eating here and not at the patio table like we used to do when it was hot outside?", I asked.
No one could object, so we just grabbed our plates and finished outside where a few birds sang , and the light evening breeze kissed our skin.
We were in the shadow of the house, so no sunburn, but it wasn't cold or cool. Just, pleasant.
After supper, I did get my dessert. I ended practicing a little volleyball with my father while we digested.
I was better than I remembered. I guess I gained a lot of coordination since last year.
Sadly, I had two days worth of homework since I did almost nothing the previous day, but I did it on the patio table and my mother stayed to assist me.
Usually, I pushed her away, but today, I let her just be there. Most of the time, she just looked at me, smiling, but two she pointed out a mistake and once answered a question.
My father is better for some subjects, but he is a lot less patient, especially with teachers who give bad instructions.
But that night, it was perfect. My father came out near the end to confirm he reserved a cabin, not far from Mindy's house, for the weekend. He also spoke to Peter, but it took me a few minutes to realize he was talking about Mindy's father.
"We'll bring our bicycles. They wanted to go to the creek"
"Are you sure it's a good idea? There is a tricky part by the rocks", replied my mother
"Apparently, they fixed it, him and Gabriel"
"How is Gabriel?", says my mother, excited
"He moved on the West Coast"
"Oh, that's sad. His wife was such a good cook"
"Ah, yeah, their famous ribs", says my mother
"The only ribs I ever got you to eat"
"Everyone was talking about them!"
"They gave the recipe to Clara. Do I buy racks for Saturday evening so we learn the recipe?", proposed my father
"So I can ruin my figure?", joked my mother
My father turned to me. "Sugar, you'll see, they melt in your mouth. They are just breathtaking"
I just looked at them, as if they were aliens. They kissed! In front of me, and I forced myself not to complain.
Instead, I looked and realized that yeah, maybe, perhaps, in the eyes of some people, they were a cute couple.
When homework was done, we went back inside to join my father. He was watching a sitcom, but I saw he did the dishes. Cleaned everything up.
It was finished, but he proposed we watch something else as a family. We settled on something, but I don't recall what.
What I do remember is that we sat like we always do, me on the love seat and my parents, snuggling on the three seat couch.
Only, this time, we were on towels, and their cuddling was different.
More intimate. I think I could have complained just a week before, but now, I was happy my parents were good together. I knew people who went through a divorce, and it's not easy.
I went to take a glass of water during an ad, and could hear them whisper lovingly.
Boys still didn't interest me. But in the kitchen, filling a glass with water, I realized that I wanted that. I wasn't aware how or why, but whispering tender words seemed like a good thing.
Later, both tucked me in.
"You put the privacy on your bedroom so you could have some time nude, right?"
"In part. Mainly to give us time to put PJs on if you knocked", said my mother
"And you often did. When you were 5 or 6, you had many nightmares"
"I think I remember that"
Now here is the odd thing. I remember telling them that I did. I remember that I remembered them. That I knew exactly what they were about. That I had a vivid recollection of what scared me in them. But I have no recollection of it today, as I am writing these words. I couldn't tell you a single thing, and as I am here, hesitant, I asked my parents and they don't recall either. So, spoiler, they are still alive, and married to each other.
They each kissed me on the forehead, and wished me good dreams.
I did so. In just 24 hours, I would be sleeping in Mindy's bed, and spending the weekend at a naturist resort.
I got my relationship with my parents back, and my imaginary friend was a real person.
I was even getting the new material from 6th grade. Sure, there was a lot of revision, like every year, but some teachers were early with the new stuff and I was getting it.
Falling asleep was super easy, no trouble at all.