The First Cycle: a dialogue

By: Samantha Clement

“Meredith, hurry! The sun will set soon! We might get lost, or worse, show up in the middle of the New Moon Ceremony! Everyone will know it’s our first bleed.” 

“Sarah, everyone will know anyway because they haven’t seen us there before. The Red Tent isn’t going anywhere, and we have all week to celebrate and be a part of the festivities.” 

“That doesn’t change the fact that we’re about to be traveling in the dark. I’m just excited that’s all… and maybe a little nervous. Also, a bit uncomfortable and needing to finally sit down.” 

“Sarah, we will get there safe and sound and be seated soon, I promise. But I really can’t move much faster. Everything below my belly button is threatening that if I keep jostling about, it will have its revenge… and Mother just wove this dress for me. She said Grandma made one just like it for her when she became a woman. I’d really rather not stain it before we get there.” 

“It’s beautiful Meredith… Maybe one day I will weave a dress for my daughter’s first bleed. And when I present it to her, I will tell her about this very moment with my dearest friend in the world, her Aunt Mere!” Sarah looks over her shoulder to flash a smile in Meredith’s direction. “You know, a day will come when our moontimes will cease to exist. Our youth will vanish like the New Moon. We will stop bearing children. And no more blood will ever come from us again… I shouldn’t even dwell on such a time!” 

“We shall go on pretending! We will have to keep coming to the Red Tent just to escape the men!” Both girls begin to laugh.  

Sarah turns and stops to wait for Meredith. The sun is setting as Sarah reaches out her hand. Meredith takes it with a warm squeeze.  

“It’ll be our secret.” 

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