So the edit letter hit and with it comes great responsibility. I feel like literary Batman only I don’t talk like I gargled with grit and I’d look AWFUL in a black leather onesie. Anyway, I will be absent while I tackle a mountain of rewrites, but have some words that will likely be my next YA. Until we meet again!
At that point in my life, only eight years old and still gangly and unkempt, I’d never been to Tylene, but I’d read plenty about it. It was the city of silver and glass. It was said the Capital College had a silver spire on its roof that soared so high into the sky, it almost touched the sun. There were bridges of gold that arced over glimmering, cerulean waters, and the five temples of Suri – the patron goddess of the moon and beauty – were the most beautiful buildings in the world. Much praise was heaped upon their stained glass windows, how each was a work of art unlike any other and crafted by masters a hundred years ago.
I imagined what those windows depicted. I thought maybe it would be Suri’s many adventures, but when I tried to recall a single tale about the goddess’s feats, I couldn’t. I knew plenty of stories about the gods of water and war and the sun, but not Suri. I knew what she embodied, I knew she was the most beloved of our gods, but not what she did, and with such a rich pantheon to plunder for make-believe fodder, I found that strange. Intrigued, I asked my mother about Her. Mama’s disappointing answer was that a girl my age shouldn’t think about that yet. She said one day she’d tell me, but not until I’d had my first blood and understood the ways of men and women.
Her words did nothing to satisfy my curiosity, and so that night, in the dark confines of the bedroom I shared with Atia, I asked my sister not only about Suri, but about the matters of sex. She hadn’t had her first blood either, but she’d heard things from her friends by the river who had blossomed into womanhood, and she explained things as best a girl of eleven could explain to a girl of eight.
“You mean like the sheep,” I’d said, because really, the concept of a phallus was so ridiculous to me, but I’d seen the sheep atop one another in the pasture, so I made the logical leap that the rams were inserting their “flesh-meat” (as Atia called it) into the females.
“Yes, like that.”
“People do that, too?”
“ . . . yes, I would assume. That’s how we have lambs. It must be how people have babies.”
It was a somewhat horrific revelation, and though it’s strange to confess now, I’d spent at least an hour thinking about out how my father must have looked mounting my mother like a sheep. It was bizarre, and a few times I had to stifle giggles against the back of my hand so our parents didn’t barge in and demand to know what was so funny at this late hour. My child-brain had come to the conclusion that our great goddess ruled a silly, silly thing. No wonder no one wanted to talk about her stained glass windows! They probably showed flesh-meat and sheep rutting!