I was at that gross age boys hit right before their nuts drop. I was a Boy Scout. Naturally... and my first summer camp moment was but three months away. Among all the other things that needed to be done before “Camp Steiner” I recall my parents in passing say something regarding a physical exam I’d have to do before summer camp. I had no idea what a “physical” even was? So naturally, as every kid does, I went to friends to try and find out what it was?
My next door neighbor was my best childhood friend, Samuel. Samuel had a couple year older, hyper sexual brother named, Miah. I walked into Miah’s room to pick his brain. He was completely naked humping a stuffed alligator. The kind that you win at an amusement park when your dart pops the balloon. I asked Miah what a physical is? I remember nothing more than him doing an animated ninties “owwwwchiii that’s gotta hurt!” Then he showed me his pubes.
I only asked one more person, and they said “A doctor will put a rubber glove on and put his finger up your butthole till you Pooh.” He also told me they put a long needle up your pee hole.
I then watched Arachnophobia and saw the scene where the whole football team is lined up naked in the locker room and how the doctor put his hand somewhere down there that made the guys couch. I just remember how awkward that scene was and I imagined that as my worst fear. To be naked in a cold room with everyone you know, while you’re in line to get bare naked groped.
The day finally came. THE PHYSICAL! Too anxious, too scared, and too young to even talk to my mother about how I felt, I loaded myself into the van. We pulled up to the house of the man doing the physical. I’ll never forget the house. It was this very modest, cottagey, home. Overgrown flowers everywhere. Old chipped cyanic colored picket fence that matched the house paint. Nothing about this place was “Better Homes” worthy. But the charm this home had was like an English storybook. I felt like I was in real life Peter Rabbit. There was a sun room built onto the side of the house facing the crab apple orchard. That was my first time seeing a sun room.
An old man named Harvey Wheelright walked me back to the sunroom. I don’t remember much, but I do remember the minute I walked into the sunroom I felt like I had gone to heaven. It was designed very vapor wave/Golden Girls inside.
From what I can remember, Harvey checked my temperature, tapped my knees with a rubber hammer, and held that cold flat thing with the cord to his ears without me having to take my shirt off. Asked if I’d care for a lemon drop on my way out. Brought out the crystal candy dish and said “Take One.”
I waited on the patio for my mother to pull up. I sat under some kind of a large willow. It had the most striking texture. White, waxy branches with black bark. If you look closely you see several Egyptian eyes staring at you. Surrounding the tree trunk was a sky blue enclosed, roomy bench, covering the entire circumference of the tree. The benches were quite far up the tree trunk, so it felt more like a treehouse. White, weathered lattice covering the the old staircase curling up to the nest.
My mom could have lost my number and never picked me up. I sat on that bench smiling with a little white remain of a lemon head melting in my mouth.