Half the chapter -- the rest tomorrow while I think my plans through for the next 30 days. This comes after Brendan's seen Joanna for the first time, when he was twelve. Now he's at home trying to sleep.
Christ, she was lovely, and the longer she was in my mind, the more perfect she became. And the more my heart grew close to bursting with the idea of her. I could picture us, lip to lip, gentle and loving. I could still smell that whiff of scent she was wearing. Was joyful at the sparkle coming from her ear studs. The way she tossed her head, making the spun silk of her hair whisper about like something ghostly. The flow of her breasts under her jersey made the more wonderful by its being tucked into her skirt and held tight by a belt. The line of her legs from elegant round hips. I ached to hold her.
I felt a stirring in my tadger that began behind me heart, moved through my chest and down my belly to tingle across the insides of my thighs. Without thinking, I crushed my legs together and felt lightning jolt into my nuts only to ricochet up to my own nips. I almost laughed at the glorious sensation of it all. I felt my tadger grow and became a bit nervous so parted my legs. I thought I’d cut off the blood to it and it was swelling from that. Because it was also beginning to hurt.
I lay still. Tried to force the sight of that girl from my brain...but that only made things worse. I kept imagining her looking at me, smiling at me...then crossing to me to slip her hand around the back of my head and pull me into a kiss that promised heaven. And the lightning exploded through me, again.
And daggers of pain shot from my tadger. I grunted, trying to keep quiet and still. Any thoughts of the girl vanished from my mind thanks to the sudden hurt. I felt like I was being crushed, down there...and it was only getting worse. I began to moan, not knowing what to do. Rhuari and Kieran would have slept through an atomic bomb, but it woke Eamonn and he turned to me.
“Are you all right, son?” he whispered.
“Eamonn, I think I’ve done myself damage.”
“What d’ya mean?”
“My tadger fuckin’ hurts and -- .”
He looked at the covers and saw the lump, and laughed. “It’s all right, son. Happens to all us lads.”
“Is it supposed to hurt so?” Then I cried out as more daggers shot into me.
He looked closer at me. “You’re sweatin’.”
“Eamonn -- I think it’s comin’ off.”
He nodded and said, “Hang on,” then slipped away. I heard him knock on Mam’s door and her sleepy voice asking what the fuck he wanted. A moment later she came in and dragged me from the bed. I screamed from the pain, and that woke the others. She yanked down my pajamas, looked at my -- at me and snarled, “Have you been abusing yourself?”
“What?” I’d no idea what she meant.
Eamonn piped in, “Mam, that’s not what happens.”
“And you know, do ya?” she shot at him.
He smirked and said back at her, “I’m healthy enough to.”
She looked hard at me then nodded. “The Raffertys have a phone. Go call Casualty and have an ambulance sent.”
Eamonn nodded and left, then Mam turned to me. “You have trouble passing water, do you understand me? Do not tell them you were abusing yourself and bring shame to us. You’re having trouble passing water.” I nodded and carefully pulled up my bottoms. “Now put on your robe and slippers, nothing else.”
Half an hour later an ambulance came with some constables from the RUC. By this point, Mam was dressed and I was lying on the couch, shivering from the pain. The attendant checked me over, saw what was wrong and looked at Mam. “Have you no ice?”
“Will that work for -- ?”
He cut her off with, “Would you bring me some? It’ll make the ride easier for the lad.”
Mam went in the kitchen as he turned back to me, shaking his head. A constable appeared at the door, looked at me and asked, “So what happened?” His voice sounded like Belfast.
“I -- I’m having trouble passing water.”
The attendant glanced at me and kept his smile to himself. “That must hurt.” I nodded.
“He’s young for kidney stones, inn’t he?” the constable asked. I could tell he was thinking something else had happened, something criminal he could blame on me, but the attendant shrugged him off.
“Could be any number of things,” he continued, his eyes kind. “So we’ll be taking you to casualty and they’ll check you out, and I’d say in a few days you’ll be right as new.”
Then Mam came back with ice wrapped in a towel and he guided me to a stretcher and lay the ice on my crotch and called out, “Hey, Martin, we’re ready.”
A second attendant popped in, smelling of cigarette smoke, and took the other end of the stretcher.
Mam said, “I’m ridin’ with yous.”
The first attendant looked at me. “How old are you, Brendan?”
“Just past twelve.”
“Do you want your mum along?”
I looked at Mam, and her expression would have killed him on the spot if he’d been looking at her. So I said, “She’s no other way to get there.”
He nodded and said to her, “Then you can join us, missus.”
“And why could I not, me being his mother?” Then she turned and called up the stairs, “Eamonn, leave the wains with Mrs. Rafferty on your way to school. I’ll fetch them soon as I’m done with himself.”
“Aye, Mam.” Then I glanced back up to see him standing at the top of the stairs, and he was smiling and moving his right hand in the signal for wanking and I would’ve killed him if I’d been able to get past the pain.
The ride to Altnagelvin was fast and the care I got was quick, with them even giving me a shot to ease the hurt. But then a doctor examined me. He seemed nice enough, but the way he kept feeling up my tadger made me highly uncomfortable.
“Well -- the problem’s obvious,” he told me, his voice carrying a curious accent I later realized was Scottish. “But I have questions for you, first. When you bathe, do you clean inside your foreskin?“
“I clean all over,” I said, wondering what he meant.
He nodded. “Have you had an erection before?” I still wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but this time I told him so. “Your penis, Brendan. Has it become hard or felt strange prior to tonight?”
“Never,” which wasn’t the truth. I’d woken a few times recently with something odd going on down there, and it not being comfortable, but nothing more’d happened. I’d been meaning to ask Eamonn if he knew what it was, but he’d been so lost in preparing for his A-levels, I hadn’t found a chance.
He nodded and stepped out to talk with Mam. They spoke softly, but I heard every word.
“Brendan has Phimosis, Mrs. Kinsella. That means his foreskin is very, very tight, much too tight for a lad his age.”
“What if it is? What’s that mean?”
“Well -- when he has an erection, his foreskin is too tight to expand correctly. Sometimes that means the head of his penis can’t push through, or if it does, it breaks the skin, causing bleeding and infection. With Brendan, it’s a case of his head being able to make it past the foreskin, but it’s now too tight for the head to retract, cutting off the blood flow. The best way to handle this is to remove the foreskin, and do as quickly as possible. That will eliminate the problem. Do you have other sons?”
“I suggest you have them examined.”
“What -- is this contagious in boys?”
“Oh, no -- no, it’s something he was born with. I seriously doubt any of your other sons will have the same trouble, but better safe than sorry. Since Brendan’s here, now, I’d like to go ahead and do it.”
Mam agreed. And neither of them asked me a thing about it. So the next morning, it was done. And they kept me a week, to be sure there was no infection or any other trouble. And I slept very well, having the whole bed to myself. True there was nothing but curtains separating me from the rest of the ward, but it all felt so luxurious, it was all I could do to keep from sighing over the pleasure of it.