I was nearly four years old, when my mother left me with the Kingston girls one summer afternoon. The Kingston girls were the two sweet teenage daughters of a man and his wife, who happened to be friends of my mother and father. They lived about a mile or two down the road from us.
We were upstairs, in the girl's knotty pine paneled bedroom. Jacqueline had a bottle of brilliant red nail polish, and she and her sister were painting their nails with it. I was absolutely fascinated with what they were doing, and watched with rapt attention. The girls noticed my fascination, and Jacqueline sweetly asked me if I wanted her to do my nails too. Enthusiastically, I said yes, and she proceeded to meticulously apply the fire engine red polish to my nails as well. When she was done, I was positively thrilled with the way they looked. I too now, had pretty bright red nails just like them!
Soon it was time to go home. Jacqueline picked me up, and put me in the wire basket attached to the handlebars of her bicycle, and pedaled me down the road to our house. All the way home, I couldn't take my eyes off of my hands. The bright red nail polish flickered in the light of the summer sun, and made my nails look magical! I was so proud of them! I couldn't wait to show them to my mother, when I got home. Jacqueline turned her bike into our driveway, and when she came to a stop, she lifted me out of the basket, and set me down on the side walk. I ran to the front door and went inside. Mom was sitting in a chair next the fireplace, and I ran up to her with my hands extended to share my joy. As Jacqueline walked in the door behind me, the smile on my mother's face quickly turned to a scowl, and she blew up! Yelling and screaming at Jacqueline for putting nail polish on a boy, she grabbed me by the hand and jerked me up the stairs to the bathroom, where she immediately removed my beautiful red nail polish.
I can't remember exactly what my mother said to me as she angrily removed my pretty red nail polish, and along with it every shred of joy that I had felt moments earlier, but I think it's the first time I ever heard the word, sissy.