You are seven years old and have just gotten the training wheels removed from your pink huffy bicycle. You are riding aimless in destination. Maybe you will materialise at your neighbour’s pool, maybe you will venture to the lake. You don’t know where you’re going, really, but you do know something about this ride feels different. A Power Puff Girls helmet embosoms the skull which embosoms your Concrete Operational brain which embosoms your thoughts, which happen to be exciting you quite a bit right now. Pedalling down your residential road you are experiencing something you have only felt a tactless tickle of before.
There is a sensation brewing beneath your Limited Too denim. In the delicate space between your pelvis and bike seat, it is mounting, unfurling further at the command of your hips. You press into it. There’s something satisfying about the connection of gland to pleather. It’s electric, though not entirely unfamiliar. You’ve inched toward this sensation before, but you can’t recall when. Every time you have timorously leaned away from it, afraid of consequences, afraid of combustion. It’s scary to feel new things. Or is it? You are young enough that there is so much you haven’t felt. Most sensations are novel and new. You are a vessel of discovery, absorbing and processing new forms of stimulation at all moments. These things which have grown quotidian for adults still possess much mystery for you. Though you are not thinking about it immediately, the way it will feel to someday be kissed, touched, loved romantically are sensations of conceptualisation that cannot be contained by the bounds of your imagination. Anything could feel like anything. Everything could feel like everything. You have no gauges for these which you will hopefully grow to feel. A kiss is still powerful enough to turn a frog to a prince; an embrace, you wonder, could reconfigure your whole face, maybe even make you sprout breasts.
There is no room for anything to be clinical Both your body and brain buzz differently each day with every breath of wind, every sight of something beautiful. Your visions of the future are all moulded by fantastical, gorgeous delusions. In this moment, on your pink huffy bike, the chance you could be accepted to Hogwarts in five years is still a very palpable possibility; you are confused why your parents don’t discuss the matter with the urgency it merits. But you can’t think about that right now. You are too fixated on the frenzy of feeling localised in your nether regions. You can’t make up your mind about it. Maybe it feels like someone’s finger-pads petting your back, or your aunt brushing your hair in preparation for braiding. Maybe it feels like nothing that has preceded it.
Yes, you decide. This is an alien excitement. It is approaching something much greater. You now know with certainty that it isn’t going to plateau, but would you really mind if it did? You’re labouring up a hill as the friction increases, suddenly you grow suspicious of what is going to happen. Are you going to manifest a third arm? Is your brain going to combust? Are you going to die? Do you want to die? Briefly you think, in less articulate terms, that if you die feeling this sensation it would be the happiest day of your life. Then it happens. You are shocked. You fall off your bike. In the ditch in front of Larry Funk’s bungalow you reconcile with the convulsion of ecstasy that just undulated through your body. It’s as if you discovered fire and no one was there to witness it. Now you have a secret. Perhaps you are clairvoyant. You flirt with a fantasy of this moment finally giving you the mind control to move objects and manipulate spaces that you envy in Matilda. The divine has intervened within you and is trying to tell you something. But what? You bike down to the lake and forget about it for a while.
The rest of summer your bike becomes your first lover. You take advantage of it every moment you can, ascending the same hill, approaching the same mystery. But as the trees disrobe themselves into skeletal shadows and the warmth of Western New York fall begins to wane, you panic about what you will use to achieve your secret sensation without it. After a brief and embarrassingly public search, you discover that a Buffalo Bills throw pillow is a sufficient surrogate. Winter is welcomed and as the lake freezes over, it’s just you and the throw pillow in front of the fireplace. You start to lose interest in sledding and snowshoeing and snowballs and snowmen. You are spending your free time on something much more important. Steadied in the knowledge that your secret is special and exclusive from everyone else in the world, you run your clothed crotch across every stuffed animal and couch cushion in your house with reckless abandon. You carry on like this until one day your mom, taking a break from wrapping won tons in the kitchen, spots you straddling the couch arm. She shames you for your secret, but won’t tell you why it’s wrong. You figure you were just annoying that day and she would’ve reacted the same if you were ripping your Barbies’ heads off like you did habitually the year before.
A month later you are surrounded by your parents’ friends watching the Super Bowl halftime show. Janet Jackson’s nipple pops out. Gasps from the girls, bellows from the boys. Something stirs within you. You are fixated on her flesh. You reach for a pillow. Someone or something is telling you you must broach your secret now. There is an urgency. Your mother yells at you. Again, there is no explanation. Ten years later you will sit in therapy and attempt to reconcile with nearly every adult figure in your life having seen you hump a pillow to the edge of completion.
Kiki Dy is a recent MLitt graduate from The University of Aberdeen which she decided to attend in an emotional fugue. She is allowing herself a victory lap in the Scottish bar scene and inboxes of literary magazines before she likely decides to attend law school or perfect her quiche as a welcome lark.