The rest of that day was spent learning about sex. Clara knew about the "birds and the bees", at least the basic rudimentary idea. A man had special cells called sperm, which he made all the time, and a woman had special cells called eggs, which she released once every few weeks.
She remembered her mom telling her about this after she had run to her, crying hysterically because she had awoke to find she was bleeding "down there".
She knew that when the man gave his cells to the woman at the right time, and they combined with her's, that a child would be conceived, and grow inside her until it was ready to be born. But they never went into the details. How the cells got together in the first place. And, of course, nothing whatsoever about male anatomy.
So the first part of her sex education was mostly learning what all the parts were. A vagina, she knew, naturally. That was pretty much a requisite of her mother's however inadequate explanation, obviously, since that's where she was bleeding from. But Clara had no idea what all the other stuff was called, especially since, until that morning, she didn't even know of their existence, so shielded had her staunchly religious parents raised her.
Nor that each one had so many peculiar and sometimes silly names! Most of them were completely nonsensical. And even those words that were "real" words bore no relationship that she could see to the part they were identifying. Even before it was shaven, her "womanhood" looked nothing like a cat!
When they came to cum, that is semen, Clara gasped. She had been inundated in the stuff. She had almost drowned in it! Was there a chance that she might become pregnant?
With Bubala's child?
"Never happen!" Tia stated, matter of factly. "Buba makes sure of that. You were fixed before you ever got here. You can be sure of that!"
Clara froze. Fixed?
She knew that word. her father was a veterinary surgeon. It's what he did to pets when their owners didn't want them to have puppies, or kittens, or give them to any one else's pets.
"Fixed, how?" She asked in a squeaky voice. Her father had told her that some methods could be reversed...
"The whole nine yards." Tia replied, as if that were a good thing! "Everything goes. You got a pussy, but it's a dead end now, nothing past the cervix is spared."
Clara felt as if her heart was being ripped from her chest! She could never have a child, ever! Nor could she be made whole again. Her entire future was probably rotting in a garbage can somewhere. All her children, left to decay, never even given the chance to be!
All her life Clara had dreamed of having a family. She adored babies, yearned for the day when she may be blessed with children of her own. No more.
Clara collapsed, fell to her knees. Weeping uncontrollably.
They were gone. Gone!
Clara had been stripped of everything she had wanted to be as a woman. Now she was no longer even a woman! She was Barren!
"Hey?" Tia exclaimed. "What's the matter with you? You act as if it were a bad thing! Just think, no more periods, no more bleedin', no more PMS, nothing but the fun stuff! So why you cryin'? Y'all should be celebratin'!"
Clara looked up at her. tear lines marked her face, but sheer hatred was in her eyes. How could this woman be so callous?
"You weren't honestly thinking that someday your prince charming would whisk you away, were you?" Tia asked sarcastically. "Take you to his castle in the sky where you would spend the rest of your days giving him fine sons and daughters, like 'Delta Dawn'?" Despite their sarcasm, the negres' words were, surprisingly, not mocking her. "Wake up girl! The only prince in your life now is Buba. He's all there is, all there will be ever be, just Buba! You weren't hopin' to pop out any kids for him, were you?"
As much as they hurt, Clara realized Tia's words were probably true. it was unlikely that she would ever see the real world again. So, barren or not, her dreams of a family were just that, dreams.
Still, the fact that she was now "less of a woman" continued to rattle her. Clara found it harder and harder to continue the lessons. Eventually, she gave up. Fell silent.
Many hours later she heard the door opening. Not again?! She thought. Clara really didn't want more lessons. Not now. She needed to recover from the things she had been called to endure already.
Too much. Too much in one day.
Bubala appeared holding a tray with a bowl on it. The others got up and went to the bars. Clara could smell the spicyness of chili.
"Ready for supper?" He asked.
"Season it!" They shouted it at him, encouragingly.
"Not tonight, ladies. I'm somewhat spent from earlier. Maybe tomorrow
"Awww, C'mon!" Tia joked, "We all know how much you love to!"
"Sorry," Bubala maintained "maybe tomorrow. I've got business in the morning, and won't be back in for most of the day. I'll be nice and refreshed then..." He winked, suggestively.
Season it? Clara wondered. Why, it smelled delicious as it was, what more enhancement could it possibly need?
Bubala put the tray down and began spooning out portions into doll sized bowls and, tearing of pieces of bread, placed a helping into everyone's cells.
"You learn much?" he asked her, friendly like, as he lowered Clara's helping into her cage.
Clara looked up at him, apprehension filling her mind. despite her resolution to cooperate, she still didn't trust this "man" any further that she could throw him. At any size.
"I'm getting the thrust of it." She told him. adding a slight emphasis on the pun, but not entirely for humor.
"Good," he said "maybe tomorrow we can start practicing what you've learned."
Practicing... Clara wasn't too enthusiastic about "practicing" anything of what he wanted her to know, but said nothing. Instead, she quietly got up and went to the food.
"Don't you want to wash up first?" Bubala asked.
As Clara looked up at him, he lowered a straight-sided bowl into her cage. Hanging over the side were two small pieces of cloth. He then lowered another doll house sized dish, with a white glop of semi liquid on it, at the side of the bigger bowl.
Clara walked over to the new additions. The glob in the dish looked like... No, he wouldn't! she thought apprehensively To expect her to wash with it? But, as she picked it up, a welcome fragrance greeted her nose. Soap! Ivory, by the scent of it. She could actually bathe? Get rid of all the offensive odors he had impregnated upon her?
"Thank you." She told him, sincerely.
"You're welcome." He replied "I do take care of my 'ladies', after all. And all I request in return is a little entertainment."
Clara let that last comment slide, and cautiously tested the water, it was warm. Perfectly warm, in fact! She stepped over the edge of the bowl and submerged herself into the water, carefully, so not to upset the small bowl of soap she had set floating upon it.
Clara washed herself, then rinsed. Seeing that there was still soap in the small bowl, she washed again. Lathering herself copiously, using all the soap. As if all the soap in the world could have removed what had been done to her. Still, it felt good, almost sinfully good. To be clean again! She had gotten tired of the stench. It was permissable earlier, when she had felt like little more than trash herself.
She had quite a bit of trouble with her hair, however. It had become so tangled and knotted from her experience in his fist. Although she had thought he may have washed her afterwards, he hadn't bothered to brush her, and when it had dried, it seemed that the knots had tightened even further. I don't suppose he would spare me a brush? She thought. But there probably wasn't a brush made at her size. Not one that would be of any use, anyways. So she did the best she could with her fingers and soap.
By the time she was done, it looked as if most of her fiery red hair had been rent out, to float free in the water, but at least most of the tangles were gone.
When she was done, she got out and grabbed the towel. Bubala had disappeared while she was bathing. As if it would have mattered if he had stayed. It wasn't as if she could have stopped him from watching. And at least that wouldn't be painfull. Besides, she was so glad to be clean.
When she was as dry as she could get herself, she wrapped the towel around her hair and went to the bowl of chili and bread.
It was delicious! The girls hadn't lied about his cooking. Why would they want him to season this? What spice could possibly improve on it? Clara finished the whole bowl, then used the bread to wipe the remains off.
"See? Told ya he could cook!" Tia winked at her. "Hell, his cookin' alone's reason enough to stay, now ain't it?" Then laughed, as if she had if she had just told a great joke.
After she finished, Clara took the dishes over to the "tub" and started washing them.
At the sight of this, Tia broke into a fit of laughter "Well, I guess we all know what happened to Martha Stewart, now don't we?" Then broke into another fit of giggles, which soon had them all laughing.
Soon there was a chiming sound. The rest of the women got up and went to their beds.
"Good night" Chi wished her, gently. Clara, taking the hint, walked towards hers too, and fell into it's soft folds. Soon, the lights went out.
Without windows, or even a light from under the bottom of the door, it was blacker than black. Clara found herself thinking back to the time her dad had taken her to see the caves way up in the Appalachians. They had turned the lights out when they were deep down inside and everything had disappeared. Clara remembered she couldn't even tell if her eyes were open or closed. It was just like that.
Clara closed her eyes and, somehow, fell asleep.