Mrs. Wall separated the boys and girls into two classrooms for the ‘big talk.’
There was a lot of giggling and squirming when scientific terms such as ‘scro-tum and vul-va’ rolled off the tip of her tongue — each word carefully annunciated like she was ordering off the menu at an upscale restaurant.
But not me, I was frozen in horror.
What I wouldn’t give to maker her just stop talking, or for the bell to ring so I could head home, make myself a giant glass of powdered ice tea and forget this whole disgusting ordeal.
Next, photos of anatomically correct genitalia flashed on the overhead projector screen, turning my chubby cheeks 50 shades of tomato.
After what seemed like forever, we girls were called back into our homeroom.
I darted to my desk and was just about to sit down when I spotted it – a big wet puddle smack dab in the middle of my chair.
Word on the swings was that the ‘big talk’ had been too much for one of my male classmates. He had lost all bladder control after fainting in his seat– well, my seat to be exact.
And if that wasn’t enough embarrassment for a portly seventh grader with an unfortunate deep side part and a wonky eye, there was an unwanted parting gift.
I shoved that sleek purple box deep into the recesses of my Bart Simpson backpack, hoping it would go undetected under the half-eaten tuna fish sandwich, crumpled art project and tattered copy of VC Andrews’ Heaven.
“So, did you look inside?” asked my ultra peppy new best friend, Christene, on the walk home.
Unlike me, I could tell she was pretty excited about that damn box, about the talk, about puberty in general. Yuck.
While we shared the same love of Degrassi High reruns, canned clam chowder and oversized Body Shop shirts, my lack of enthusiasm towards what I would later dub ‘period box’ served as a marker of our maturity levels.
To be fair, she was three whole months older than myself. I was also a very young 12 and fiercely clung to what was left of my childhood like a worn-out security blanket.
Screw growing up.
I wasn’t anywhere near ready to part with my extensive Babysitter Club collection or stop playing with Barbies.
And I most certainly wasn’t ready to start shaving my legs or shove one of those offensive white cotton torpedos up my nether bits.
Mom was busy in the garden when I got home from school, giving me a bit of time to inspect and then get rid of the evidence.
First, I put my Soul Asylum cassette on full blast to muffle out any noise. As grunge God Dave Pirner crooned ‘Runaway Train,’ I barricaded my bedroom door with a heap of dirty laundry and stuffed animals. When I deemed it safe, out came the entire contents of my backpack onto the carpet.
With shaking hands, I fumbled to open the offensive purple box, fearing mom or my little brother would come barging into my room at any moment and bust me.
One by one, I took out each piece of its contents, placing them carefully on the carpet like the little budding psychopath that I was.
First came the Tampax compact tampons, next a fancy purple case for toting said tampons, and finally, a booklet about female anatomy that I read front to back like 30 million times.
You see, half of me was curious and wanted to soak up ALL THE KNOWLEDGE, while the other half wanted to remain living in blissful ignorance and will my changing body to stay a kid, forever.
The latter won in my internal battle, so off I went to bury my pending puberty.
“Just gonna borrow this for a bit,” I said to mom as I snagged her small gardening shovel and wheeled away on my bike in the direction of the power lines, peddling as fast as my chubby legs could go.
We lived in a quiet suburban farming town in British Columbia called Cloverdale where there was still a lot of undeveloped property, including what the locals called ‘ the catwalk.’ This was a vast rural field peppered with power lines that were privy to a lot of secrets.
Man, if they could talk…
It was where teens loitered and drank their parent’s stolen booze, where you’d find an impressive makeshift skateboard ramp that always seemed to snag my pants as I slid down, and it was the perfect shortcut to Christene’s house.
Sometimes you’d find ripped X-rated pages of Hustler mag in the tall grass, but that wasn’t the disturbing find. What always crept us kids out was finding the odd pieces of discarded children’s clothing like just one shoe, or worse, a little pair of underwear.
Word on the block was that a killer clown lived in those fields — I had to act fast.
Out came the shovel, followed by the tiny beads of sweat on my forehead and armpits. I knew I smelled a little rank, but still wouldn’t give mom the satisfaction of wearing roll-on stick of Teen Spirit she left on my dresser.
Finally satisfied that my hole was deep enough, I tossed in that incriminating purple box and started covering it with fresh soil.
Nobody would ever find it, not even myself.
Months later, I decided I made a horrible mistake. It was time to go back and unearth the box.
I dug, I dug and I dug some more, but my efforts proved fruitless.
Fortunately, Christene kept hers like a trophy that she proudly displayed on a bookshelf next to her Krystonia figurines and Judy Blume collection.
We’d spend hours that summer, guzzling Slurpees, taking YM quizzes and pouring over the contents of that purple box, giggling until we were both purple in the face.
Neither of us had any clue we’d actually be needing that stuff come fall, just a week apart to be exact.
But that’s a whole other story.
Twenty-five years later, the land where the purple box was buried still remains undeveloped.
Somewhere out in that vast field, amidst the discarded empty cans of Colt 45, tall grass and wild flowers, it’s still there, serving as monument to my prepubescent youth.
May it rest in peace.