Beauty, Bliss, Basilisk, Bazaar, Bachelor, Bête Noir,
having got to Bachelor and the black beast,
might be a suitable theme.
For all of her young life, Eva admired boys; they fascinated her, attracted and repulsed her at the same time; she loved their company, the rough games they played, their boastful voices and scabby knees. She followed them like a faithful puppy, always on the margins, never quite allowed to step over the threshold into their disgusting and smelly world. When it suited them, the boys generously invited her to fetch things for them, watch their coats, hold their drinks. There were times when she was called upon to be the referee in a noisy dispute between several boys; usually instigated by a boy who could count on her partiality towards him. She was very happy then.
Eva found little girls boring. Standing around in small groups, gossiping, or playing girls' games didn't appeal to her. Girls were, of course, quite as spiteful and nasty as boys, but she usually failed to grasp the meaning of barbs aimed at her. Where the boys openly ridiculed and bullied her, the girls sneered and whispered amongst themselves. Dimly she sensed the girls' disapproval and envy, because she clearly preferred the boys' company and sheer persistence and dogged determination had gained her a kind of official camp follower status.
In spite of that, she belonged in neither camp, and camps they most certainly were. The great gender divide is not a discovery of recent times. Eva was a bit of a lost soul, an outsider, an independent spirit, in her way a fighter for equality before the term and concept were invented.
Boys have always liked to throw things. In earliest times, all around the world, 'throwing sticks' or 'throwing clubs' were used to kill animals and maim or kill the enemy. Straight sticks like the stave and javelin and spear, or curved like a boomerang are known to have been used by early humans in all cultures. Plain sticks were followed by slings and catapults, bows and arrows, which were, in essence, the same principle, they just extended the maiming and killing range.
Luckily, boys also like to throw a ball, and other less immediately deadly weapons; like a frisbee, for instance. Eva's disillusionment with boys started because of a frisbee-like missile.
The boy she liked best and who occasionally felt flattered enough to accept her homage, i.e., bullied her more than the others did, had invented a throwing game which involved ripping tar paper off a school hut roof and tear it into small pieces. These pieces, a very early frisbee, flew a fair distance. Whoever managed to throw the missile the furthest won the game.
Gunther, that was the boy's name, spied Eva loitering, as usual, on the fringes on the end of the boys' part of the playground, looking in his direction. Foolishly, he threw the fragment of tar paper at her. Perhaps he wanted to frighten her, or show off to the others; it was most probably a totally thoughtless, instinctive action.
The tar paper landed smack in the middle of Eva's forehead and stayed there.
Eva howled, blood started to flow copiously. Teachers fluttered around helplessly.
Nowadays, the fear of litigation would be foremost in a teacher's mind. It wasn't then. One of them took Eva to the first aid box, removed the tar paper, slapped a huge plaster on the large cut, and sent her home. Alone, without even washing the blood off her face.
Eva paid for her early devotion to boys in several ways: because of the teacher's inefficiency, she carried the scar across her forehead for the rest of her life. The Family Doctor could do nothing, the wound should have been cleaned and stitched instantly, he said.
But Eva's hurt went far deeper than a mere gash across her forehead; Gunther was so ashamed of himself and, no doubt, frightened by what he had done, that he never again allowed Eva access to any of the boys' games, not even standing on the periphery. The other boys followed his lead.
For a short while Eva felt very lonely.