The Curse of Isadora
Isadora always wanted everything to happen to her, as soon as she hears about it. She hates not knowing any experience firsthand. As a young girl, they recall, she ran from room to room, catching a bit of conversation here and latching on to a bit of chatter there so she never felt she missed a thing. Often this running continued until Roman grabbed his young daughter and placed her onto his lap, laughing and telling him all she had learned.
Isadora claims she hears secrets, and all guests in their house freeze at the idea until Roman himself laughs and explains Isadora’s little game. Secretly, he takes everything she says very seriously. Within the imagination of this young and already stunning girl lurks some very useful information, especially for a Ruler always on the verge of war.
Even when it doesn’t sound appealing, Isadora wants to know all, experience all. Her mother Claudia taught her of The Curse, that malady sent to women once a month to prove their only worth is to bear children. At least, that’s how she views it and how she passes down the story to Isadora. Claudia never enjoys the effect this Curse has on her and how it gives Roman permission to dismiss her feelings. Claudia can’t help but wonder if all of the symptoms were learned rather than actually felt, and so it happens that when she describes The Curse to Isadora, she downplays all of its effects.
Claudia believed The Higher Being, who devised such a trial for women, must want to keep them separate, keep them constantly aware that if they aren’t bearing children while the men work, play and kill, then all that women should do is sit there and bleed from their pleasure center. Other cultures in the past even went so far as to keep the female in isolation from males during this time, although certainly never in Roman’s household.
Claudia was sure not to pass down this gem between mother and daughter. Thus Isadora has no fear, and only fascination, of her own body. If anything, Claudia instilled a great sense of pride in her daughter that could overcome any idea of frailty purely on her sex.
So when Isadora starts bleeding she is thrilled.
The morning it enters her life, she feels tied to her bed, as if her entire center of gravity changed, pinning her down between her stomach and vagina. Since she is known to wake earlier than anyone else in her household – and Elsie didn’t count, since she rarely slept and hardly in their room anyway – Isadora begins her morning’s secretive exploration. Years earlier, through no one else’s telling, she had found that her own fingers sent ripples of pleasure through her young body, pleasure not to be found in other places. She surmised these convulsions were the same as she heard from her parents’ room, but they needed each other. Isadora feels her own power.
Recently she’d heard somewhat of the same noises when Logan or Colin spend a lot of time in the washroom. Isadora doesn’t understand their shame, however, slinking past whoever had been waiting as if they’d committed the most heinous of crimes.
No, Isadora revels in such a pleasure she could only give herself, and the independence known from her early encounters with her body.
This day, however, nothing feels the same, or actually – more of the same only better, and when she took her hand away from her parts, it hangs heavy with a dark syrup.
Isadora squeals with a glee as she tears off her covers and reveals the unmistakable pool of blood. She laughs and claps until Elsie stumbles out of the shadows, quite the dark girl even then.
“What makes you so happy, Sister?”
“The Curse!” And Isadora shows her sister, five years younger, who eyes the puddle with eyes grown wide.
So dark, Elsie thinks. Much more than the blood from a fresh wound.
“Don’t you understand, Elsie? I’ve got it! I’ve got The Curse! I’m a woman!”
“All the good that does you,” Her sister replies, still eyeing the bed with dark curiosity. “That…came out of your vagina?” Elsie is always one for accuracy.
“Yes, without my even knowing, just this morning. I thought I would feel it, and it’s awfully darker than I imagined, but then the blood we’ve seen is so fresh, and this has been here for some hours…fetch me the napkins, will you? Don’t you know where Mother keeps them?”
“Of course.” Elsie didn’t tell her sister that she dissected the special napkins once, out of boredom and investigation. Elsie conducts a lot of experiments she doesn’t feel the family would understand. “Does this mean you must visit the nasty doctor? He’ll prod you and make you frown and upset as he does to Mother.”
Isadora laughs again. “That’s because Mother hates The Curse. I believe I shall love it. Now, go!”
Elsie leaves their small shared room and tries to move silently to the drawer in the washroom. No one else is up yet, thank goodness. She rustles and pushes past the myriad of other items which she as the youngest won’t ever need to use until everyone else in the household is well finished with them. She finds the napkins, takes a few in case Isadora bleeds profusely – how much does one bleed, she wonders. It must have to do with your behavior, or meals, or something else mysterious.
When Elsie emerges, however, their entire household stands at the doorway, curious about the foraging noises they heard. Elsie stands straight, fighting embarassment at the objects in her hands and says proudly and loudly:
“Isadora has gotten The Curse. She is a woman now.”
And she leaves the family, dumbfounded, following the trail of Isadora’s laugh.
“Does she need–” Claudia asks, wondering if her daughter would want her Mother, who was, after all, specifically supposed to be their guard during female times.
“No I don’t bloody think so, Mother.” Elsie says, much too harshly and she knows it, just wanting to get back inside the room, get another look at the blood, away from the ashamed looks of the family.
And inside the room, Isadora laughs.