Friday, April 21, 2017

When I was a child I felt the breath of a monster.

When I was a child I felt the breath of a monster. It was a very clever monster. It knew your thoughts. It could feel your mind. It was best for you if you did not have one. A mind that is. Anyway, nothing has been the same since. I have been on lookout. Making sure it won’t sneak-attack. A clever monster it is. I have not seen it for years. But sometimes when the house is very still I hear it echo within the beat of my heart. I avoid mirrors like death.

I have spent much time considering the monster that was my father when he beat the rag doll that was my mother. I have spent little time considering that rag doll. The one with all the bruises, and burns, and tears that came to be our life.

It is a horrible thing to see someone you love being beaten . . . to see someone who chases away your nightmares crumpled on the ground. They are humiliation, they are shame, no person is left. Only a will-less thing tossed and pushed and taunted. That was my mother. That was me. I felt shame for her. I became her shame. I held it close to me because she would not.

That scene plays out in my life. Behind locked doors an unwilling participant with a gentle hand is cast into a role he does not know and cannot play. I am the only one with the script. As I withdraw from disgust and raise a numbing screen of protection he lays there bewildered and dumbfounded.

The sadness afterward, is the choice I cannot make. To become a woman in love with a kind and gentle man or to stay an orphan searching desperately for a father who does not exist?