Melly Marvel waited for her period. She waited for her period and for Jesus and neither showed up.
Her mother had taken her to the lady aisle at the pharmacy, with all the glossy wrapped packages in sherbet colors and they'd picked one out for Melly Marvel to keep under the vanity in her bathroom. 'One day, when you are a woman, you will use this,' said Marietta.
Melly Marvel couldn't wait for the day when she could open this exciting gift. This gift that only women, real woman, could have.
The sexual education of Melly Marvel had been quite a to-do. Marietta had sat her down in the green rocking chair where they always sat together in to share emotions and read to her a book about how babies are made.
Marietta sighed to Phelan, 'Whew, I'm glad that's done!' when it was all over, this moment in the green chair where they had emotions, and Melly Marvel had been sexually educated.
Unfortunately, Melly Marvel- who was mayhaps a bit too young at the time to handle the juxtaposition of animal and people examples- emerged from this session with the belief that babies were made when chickens crawled into the beds of married people and shoved boiled eggs up ladies' pee holes.
Melly Marvel wasn't interested in sex at all.
It wasn't until years later, when she and her best friend Charlotte were at camp and faked their periods for a month because they were irrationally afraid that their inability to make sense of the matrix of straps on their cross-back bathing suits would result in their missing the bus from the pool back to camp, that Melly Marvel heard about sex for real when Charlotte told her that adults who are in love and have sworn their love before God will put one another's genitals in their mouths and that's where babies come from. They were kissed into being.
But that was all ages ago. Before Melly Marvel really knew about periods and the gifts one got to open upon getting one.
Melly Marvel still didn't have her period- despite being absolutely convinced it had come many occasions, upon which she would raise her hand, get the bathroom pass, rush to the stall to inspect her underpants, only to discover nothing but the fact that she was still a little girl.
Full disclosure: she'd opened the gift. Much as she'd pried apart the wrapping paper at the ends of Christmas presents this past year to make sure she was going to be the surprised recipient of the Sweet Valley High board game come Christmas Eve, so she gingerly pride open the plastic and pulled out a maxi pad.
A pad she proceeded to carry around like a lucky rabbit's foot. Because she did not want to be caught unprepared. When womanhood came like a thief in the night, she wanted to be ready.
At school, when the boys had gone into the other room to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the girls remained in their seats for a slide show of naked women entitled THIS IS YOUR CHANGING FEMALE BODY, a woman had demonstrated how to put a pad into a pair of painties. Except it was all wrong because the underwear was inside out and the pad wouldn't stay stuck.
Melly Marvel didn't want to get it all wrong when her period finally came. When she was a woman, at very long last, she wouldn't make any mistakes.