The No-Security Blanket
She opened her eyes, but the bright sun made her shut them again. She would have gone back to sleep except that she noticed two things were very wrong. Her cuddly protector, a whisper-soft blue blanket, wasn’t in her hands. Also, it was especially quiet in the house.
She turned her head away from the window, sat up quickly, and climbed out of the crib that her mother made her sleep in even though she was much too old for a crib. Voices came from the kitchen, so she followed the trail.
The next thing wrong she noticed was her beagle puppy (whom she named Sniffer because he sniffed the grass when he got out of the car the day he was first brought home to her, and she couldn’t think of anything more creative) wasn’t in his kennel in the kitchen. Her mother was talking to, or more like at, her father, but she interrupted and said, “Where’s Sniffer?”
"He’s not here,” replied her mother. “We had to give him away last night because the neighbors complained about his barking and the police came.”
“You gave him away!? We could have trained him. He’s only been here two days!”
“Well, he’s gone now. There’s nothing I can do.”
She asked her mother where her blanket was, and her mother said, “I gave it to the dog to make him more comfortable. I thought it might make him stop barking. But it didn’t help.”
“So where is it now? Did it go with him to his new home?”
“Oh, no. He threw up on it, so I had to throw it away.”
That wasn’t the first bad memory that would forever remain stuck to a piece of fabric like chewing gum. The first was two years before at a public swimming club. Her hair was cut in the pixie style so popular in those days, as she sat on the edge of the kids pool in a one-piece, royal blue, sateen bathing suit. Unfortunately, the “one piece” was a boy’s bathing trunk. Also popular in those days was letting little girls run around naked from the waist up. It wasn’t that she preferred the suit or going semi-naked. It was what her mother preferred, like the haircut.
A little girl to her left, who was wearing a flowered ruffled girl’s bathing suit, asked, “Are you a girl or are you a boy?”
Hurt. Hot. Damp. Cold. Embarrassed. Ashamed. She should have run away. But all she did was sit still and say, quietly, “I’m a girl.”