I have always been proud of my remarkable talent to catch large dragonflies by their tails back when I was younger. I mean, I was a pro— no silly nets for me, just my quick fingers and some cunning. If you watch those documentaries that show how lions would slowly and patiently sneak up to their prey and then go for the quick kill, I was like that with my dragonflies.
Every time I was done collecting about five or six dragonflies, I always had a meticulous ritual that I observed religiously:
- Look for a tall transparent jar
- Place the insects inside the jar
- Reach for Vicks Vapo-rub (or Efficascent Oil)
- Dab a good amount of the cold rub into the clear jar
- Shut the jar tight
In about fifteen minutes, the insects would all be dizzy then dead from inhaling all those overwhelming menthol and eucalyptus smell. And my eyes would twinkle with amazement.
Behold the demon child.
It was always a treat when I caught ‘twins’— two dragonflies hopelessly stuck together in a sixty-nine. Hey look, I’d call out to a playmate. Jackpot, we have twins over here! I would later realize they weren’t twins, of course. They were stuck because — kids cover your ears — they were fornicating.
My brother unwittingly provided me my first sex education when I was about seven or eight. My parents have been invited to a neighbour’s wedding back in my hometown, and they brought their pesky little children along with them. Come reception time, my brother whispers into my ear.
“The woman’s stomach is gonna get big, you know,” he tells me matter-of-factly. “She’s going to have a baby inside her stomach.”
I gasp. I’ve seen a lot of pregnant women but until that moment, I’ve never wondered much about them. Just freaking how, I ask him. And so my brother proceeds to tell me the grown-ups’ biggest secret.
“They kiss,” he reveals. “You saw them kiss earlier? That’s how it happens. It’s in the saliva. He transfers his saliva from his mouth to hers and then wham! a baby will grow in her stomach.”
This confused and then worried me, because my mom would kiss me all the time. “No, idiot, mommies don’t count”, he explains edgily, impatient with my stupidity for thinking such ridiculous thing. “Only married grown-ups have babies by kissing. And they kiss this way,” he points out and proceeds to French kiss his hand.
I stare in astonishment.
In school, I started telling my classmates the story about how babies were made, not forgetting, of course, to demonstrate the French kiss as a finalé. The reactions from my audience were pretty much the same. “Really?” they’d ask in wide-eye wonderment. “And have you seen your parents kiss like that?”
I never caught my parents at it though. Sometimes I would catch my dad on top of my mom in bed, but they were always fully clothed and usually just playing around. However, I remember when I was small I accidentally walked in on my mom as she was changing her clothes. I screamed and pointed at the hairy mess down there. She chuckled and said, “Oh you came from there, deal with it,” and simply turned around, showing me her butt.
Waaaaaah, I screamed, and ran to my father.