My mother was always looking to the wrong god. She was certain god was male and didn't care for her, or any other female.
My mother laughed the day I first bled. I had been lying in bed for days, with a "stomach flu" and noticed when I went to the bathroom that there was a scant trace of brown on my panty lining. I called my mother over. "But I don't remember pooping." She eyed it and laughed. "Now you are a woman. Welcome to the club. It's eine Schade, a shame. It's disgusting." She showed me how to put a liner in my underpants, take it out and wrap it and dispose of it when it became too soaked. The advent of blood was like waking, mid-dream, out of my delirium of sickness.
A faint aural memory reverberated: nurses came to speak to our class months before, after the boys had all been led into another room, by the male teachers, saying to us that we would all, like it or not, soon bleed every month. A wound, falling off our bikes. They said it wouldn't be painful. A beautiful part as you all grow into womanhood. They asked us how many holes we had. A few said two, one girl said four. The one nurse said, no, there are three.
In junior high one day a girl sat at her cafeteria bench, like the rest of us, and picked at her tray filled with fried chicken, hash browns, green peas and applesauce. She sat there, chattering between bites, like everyone else, only below her, a pool of blood grew. Her jeans were stained brown. She did not rise until the lunch bell rang. She chattered on as if her head were happily severed from her body, as if her lower back sat wounded and dying, for all to see, but she was nervously happy anyway.
Her tale spread throughout the school until every student knew it by the end of next period. A friend who had been her classmate in elementary school told me she had done the same thing in class once, sitting in a pool of urine in her seat. The janitor was called in, and mid-class, mopped the mess up.
"God is a man," my mother says. "He has to be. Otherwise it wouldn't
hurt while we give birth and we wouldn't have blood seeping out of us