The caravan had been mouldering
there at the back of their half-acre block since before she was
Its aluminium skin was spattered with bullseyes of long-dead lichen, and a mutated cherry tree grew up through the triangular towing frame at the front. The tyres were flat and rotting into the ground, the suspension springs rusted, loose and hanging. This was a mobile home whose mobile days were long over, and who knew what it was home to now.
She barely even registered its existence anymore. It was in a blind spot back there, along with the once-upon-a-time chook shed, the burnt out barbecue, and the collapsing pile of decomposing fence palings that her Dad had kept "just in case".
But then, one day, she was trying to study for her Uni exams, and her younger brother was being loud and stupid and giving her the absolute shits. She gave him the screaming-at he deserved, then she stomped out of the house, looking for somewhere to be alone and fume for a while.
The chook shed was known to be full of huge and insane huntsman spiders, and the roof in there was too low anyway. She gave its doorway a sullen kick and it shook ominously, spiders scuttling into crevices. She turned her attention to the caravan instead, and wondered if the door would still open.
The handle turned with a negligible protest, and the door pulled open quite easily. It barely squeaked, in fact.
Inside was supernaturally quiet. She could almost feel the silence drifting out to wrap itself around her. She looked back up at the house where her pain-in-the-arse brother was still running around inside making a din. She could hear him, even from here, even with the silence from the caravan wisping about her. Why Mum and Dad hadn't sent him off to Special Accommodation years ago utterly perplexed her.
The caravan's step was folded up, and she didn't like the idea of wrestling it out, so she had to lift her leg up high to get into the doorway. The caravan creaked and shifted as it adjusted to her weight, and its interior slowly came into being around her as her eyes adjusted to the gloom.
It stank of brown and age. Ancient beige vinyls and damp fake-mahogany plywood combined to produce a smell that you would expect if you opened a cupboard full of elderly plastic raincoats somewhere in the depths of a mossy forest.
She closed the door behind her, and turned the handle.
The silence and the smell pressed in on her so that, at first, she could hardly breathe.
She could no longer hear her moron brother, though, so that was one thing accomplished.
She took a few steps, half expecting to crash through the rotted floor, but the lino didn't sag at all. It seemed quite sturdy, even. She gave the galley a disgusted glance, and the tap pump a few experimental pulls and pushes. It wheezed, but no more.
She lifted the vinyl bench cushions, checking for spiders. There was nothing under the first one, and only an old girlie magazine under the second. She pulled it out and flipped through the pages. Girls from the Eighties in corsets and suspender belts with storm clouds of pubic hair and floppy breasts.
She flipped some more, read a few paragraphs at random from an article about some rock celebrity who apparently had no trouble in getting all the pubic hair and floppy breasts he needed, and then she closed it and placed it on the laminex table. To come back to later.
She was wondering what other such interesting treasures might be lurking in hidden places.
At the back of the caravan was a double bed of sorts. The vinyl was red and looked scratchy. There was no sheet or pillows. A split in the vinyl (that she surprised herself by recognising it to be about the same size as the split in her vulva) was liberating some of the powdery foam that served as filling.
She sat on the mattress and opened some of the woodgrain-laminated cupboard hatches.
In one she found a box of teabags that was so old it didn't have a UPC barcode. In the others she found some Ratsak, a single grey sock, and a half-used candle bereft of matches.
She knelt on the mattress, her knees finding the firm boards underneath without difficulty, and pulled open the overhead lockers.
In the first, more girlie magazines. In the second, clothing of some sort.
She pulled out the clothing in handfuls. It was all lace and ribbons and...
It was a stash of lingerie. Dozens and dozens of pieces, all in mint condition and not decayed at all.
She thought of her mother, tired and distracted at the end of each day, boiling rice and potatoes for dinner. She thought of her special needs brother and how he had worn any fun or joy out of their mother years and years ago. She tried to fit those mental images of her mother with the lacy and delicate, and not to mention seriously, blatantly sexual pieces of clothing she was holding in her hands, and she just couldn't make it work.
Her mother must come out here, when she could get a break from all the autism, and try to remind herself of what she had been like as a sexual being, as a young woman, as a person in her own right, and not just a support network for a brat with a broken brain.
It was so poignant, she almost wanted to cry.
She decided right there and then that she would try to experience what her Mum felt, to try to understand her struggle better. She was, after all, right now escaping from her autistic brother just like her mother did when she came out here. She was in need of some pampering, just like her mother gave herself. She was a woman, and perfectly entitled to womanly things...
She already had her tracky-dacks and Ugg boots off, and her t-shirt was coming off over her head before she'd finished justifying all this to herself.
She unclipped her bra and uncupped her boobs. They weren't as full as her mum's yet, or as floppy as those of the girls in Apartment 18 Magazine, but they were boobs, after all. She pulled down her undies and stood naked in the beige gloom, wondering which of the pieces she should try on first.
She chose a blue teddy with white lace-up ribbons down the front. She stepped into it and pulled it up onto herself. She felt the crotch slide into place over her crotch, and then she pulled the straps into place over her shoulders, positioning what there was of her boobs in the cups.
The hips were cut impossibly high, almost reaching the bottom of her rib cage. Her boobs - though full of potential - failed to fill the cups, as she had expected.
But she still felt incredibly sexy.
She opened the long door of the wardrobe (contents: four wire coat hangers and a dead mouse) and inspected herself in the narrow mirror.
Pretty dang sexy.
Even if she did say so herself. To herself.
She closed the wardrobe, stuffed the other lingerie pieces back in their locker, and stood there, barefoot in the borrowed sexual finery.
Barefoot wasn't much good. She couldn't imagine her mother putting up with that.
She opened a couple of floor-level lockers she hadn't explored yet and found some heels. They weren't mouldy at all, and they more or less fitted her. In fact, they were ridiculously huge on her feet, but that was fine.
So that was that, then. She was sexy.
Was that it?
Is that what she's supposed to feel?
She picked up the magazine and flipped through it again, hoping to get some pointers. The girls were all sort of posing and pouting, occasionally smiling at the camera. In one or two shots they were touching themselves.
She should probably do that. Touch herself. It seemed the next logical step. Posing and pouting didn't seem like much.
She took out her hair elastic and shook her long auburn hair free. Then she lay on the double bed mattress - carefully, more on the edge, really - and started to touch herself.
Poke, poke. Prod. Wiggle...
It felt awkward.
She stopped touching herself and closed her eyes, imagining it was a man touching her instead. She imagined this generic man running his hands all up and down her body, stroking all that tender side skin exposed by the high cut waist.
She ran her own hands - standing in for the man's hands - up and down her flanks. It felt OK, but it was taking a lot of imagination to make it feel anything more than just her running her hands up and down her sides.
What would a man do? she thought to herself.
She ran her hands through her hair, her eyes still closed, and imagined him, emulated him - this generic man - touching her on her lips, her breasts, her pussy...
It still didn't seem right.
She went back to the magazine. It was no use. She'd done everything it suggested.
She reached into the overhead and pulled out a different mag. Busting Out offered women with ample breasts having ample breasts and not much more. Playful Teens was full of emaciated girls who seemed to be strung out on heroin. Double D Academy was a smorgasbord of big-haired women in and partly out of leotards trying valiantly to pursue a career in professional gymnastics despite their enormous boobs...
It all seemed hopeless.
She packed the magazines away and lay back down. She slid two fingers into herself and found she was quite wet, the awkwardness of the previous half hour notwithstanding. She thumbed her clit and managed quite readily to bring herself to orgasm.
She didn't think that was what her mother would do out here, with all this lingerie and all this confusing reading matter, but... well, she'd had an orgasm, and that was fine.
She climbed up onto the bed, carefully avoiding the vulva-sized split with its knife-edged labia, and the suspect pellets that might be mouse shit, and she curled up, and closed her eyes.
She liked to snuggle into a ball after a good come.
She lay like that, thinking about things for a good while. Her Mum. Her autistic brother. Her imaginary man...
She didn't realise she'd fallen asleep until she snapped awake with someone sitting on the bed beside her.
She sat up startled, trying to hide the fact that she was three-quarters naked in borrowed lingerie. Borrowed lingerie that was currently still soggy from her vaginal juices.
It was a lost cause.
She peered through the gathering darkness at her visitor. Night was falling, but there was still just enough light to see shapes by.
Her leg hurt. In her scramble she'd cut herself on the edges of that split after all. She suspected she was now sitting in mouse shit.
'It's OK, Sweetheart. It's just me.'
'We couldn't find you,' he said, 'and i thought you might be out here. Sure enough, here you are.'
He clicked on a fluorescent camping light he'd apparently brought out with him. It painted the caravan interior with a cold, dead light.
'You're bleeding,' he said, and reached out to touch the smear on her leg.
'Yeah, i cut it on the stupid mattress. You won't tell Mum, will you?'
'That you cut yourself?'
'That i was... dressing up out here. You know.'
'Oh, she doesn't need to know about that,' he assured her. 'We can keep it our little secret.'
Well, she thought. That was a relief.
He stood up, reached up and clicked shut the overhead locker.
'No, no, no. She doesn't need to know about any of this,' he explained. 'And, by the way, you look a hell of a lot better in that teddy than i ever have.'
The caravan had been mouldering
there at the back of their half-acre block since before she was