One Monster for Another

He’s the most agreeable kid I know. He goes for hours—almost days—without crying, and when he does, it’s in a music-like shrill, like the high notes of a violin, that startles in its beauty.

“The voice of an angel in the body of a monster”

Those are not my words but my sister’s. I didn’t disagree with her. She uttered the statement in the same way she would comment on the dull colour of a new sofa or the fading beauty of an old necklace: with a frankness that doesn’t permit you to be angry. After all, she was only stating a fact. I smiled. I had reasons to smile.

The nurses said he took one look at his body and ran mad. I don’t believe them. They said he ran into the lobby of the hospital screaming, “That can’t be my child. That thing cannot be my child”. They said he sat in the reception for hours, explaining my promiscuity to patients who were not ready to listen to his rambling. He ran out and never came back.

I hid his brutality, and my pain, under a facade of faux-beauty

After my discharge from the hospital, I returned to a house that had been purged of half the things in it. He’d been looking for reasons to leave and he found one. He could deny him, but I couldn’t. The boy had just passed through my legs, causing a tear that took two months to heal. But he succeeded in pushing the other monster away and for that I am grateful.

In the final months of the pregnancy, he had started to hit me in places I couldn’t explain with clumsiness on the uneven steps or head bumps in the kitchen due to lose cabinets. He gave me lots of bruises; bruises that made me spend hours behind the mirror, covering my face in thick layers of Foundation and Concealer. I hid his brutality, and my pain, under a facade of faux-beauty—an act some willingly-ignorant men consider vain.

Now he’s gone. The arrival of a boy, with an over-sized head, no opening where his outer ear should be, and limbs of unequal length, sent him away. I traded one monster for another, but this monster I can love–learn to love.

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One thought on “One Monster for Another

  1. It’s unnerving to hear a mother call her child a monster even though he looks like one. She has gone through difficult circumstances, and life doesn’t look like it’s going to get easier.

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