There's a monster in my house. It hides and no one else can see it. I can see it though, I know the monster better than anyone. And one day, it's going to eat me and no one will know.
There will be a funeral, flowers and crocodile tears - maybe even real ones after the monster erases all the memories. But the monster did it.
I have lived in fear of the monster as long as I can remember. It only comes out when we're alone and there's nowhere to run or hide. Sometimes it peeks out at me, letting me know that I will not get away, even in public. The monster is patient. The monster is clever. The monster is invisible to everyone but me.
They wanted a whole houseful of kids. But miscarriages and TDY and Dad in the jungles of Vietnam happened, and the precious Only Son, the One True Boy got sick as a baby - and everyone forgot me - except the monster.
The monster never forgot how I was always there, so quiet, so gullible, so easy to scare. How my eyes would get so big and my mouth would drop open in a shocked little O of surprise every time. The monster never forgot. How I would cry until I couldn't anymore - but I could endure.
Sometimes the monster would pretend to be nice - share secrets I should never know, teaching how to gorge on sweets and carbs in the dark with the doors closed. But it always was the same in the end - the eyes would get that gleam, the teeth extend and sharpen, the razor sharp tongue that would destroy everything valuable inside me, the little arms that were too tired and impatient to hold but always had the strength to hit and hit and hit.
It was the monster that pushed me into the wall. The monster that let go of the belt buckle. The monster that pulled out my hair. Hit me with a litany of household objects - belts, spoons, hairbrushes, macrame plant holders, brooms, flyswatters, a bag of frozen chicken - whatever was handy. It was the monster that stabbed me with a pencil when I couldn't remember 8x7 is 56. It was the monster that mocked my mind and soul and made sure I was crushed inside.
You're putting on airs.
You think you're better than everyone else.
You're a BITCH.
You should never have been born.
Except who would the monster play with if I hadn't been born? Who else could be blamed? Not the Only Son, the Sacred Grandson and heir to the Smith name. Who could be confided in and threatened into silence? To know how unpleasant a sex life could be. To blame for the gorging and the purging. To blame for loneliness. To blame for rape. To watch out for the Only Son as he picked fights and broke things while the monster slept. Who else did the monster have to play with if not me?
As I got older the games got more complicated, there were the Tests. The monster would come out and do whatever it wanted, the Tests came after. You have to prove you're okay - that you're not mad about the monster. Clean something. Do something Nice. Give away a treasure. Be Kind to someone. I had to demonstrate that I was worthy of the monster giving me a break. It was never enough - the monster always came back whether I did the Test or not.
But I kept hoping. I was smart and good and I didn't want to make the monster unhappy. I was quiet. I was studious. I befriended the lost and the hated and the poor and the lonely - until I was punished and the monster decided no more friends. I cleaned up after the pets I didn't want but was "given" because pets teach responsibility. I spent years on restriction without music, without contact other than school, only books and playing cards as my companions. I organised and kept my space spotless, the better to keep the monster appeased - but it did no good. The monster was always there waiting for me to slip up.
And I ran. I ran from the monster as far as I could, across the country, to other states and cities and in communities where the monster could not go. But in the end, I brought the monster with me and it ate me alive. It killed my dreams and mocked me as I failed again and again and again. Everything the monster said was true - I was worthless. I failed. But I endured so well.
I would get up and go forward again and again. I would smile and nod and try to get by. I would struggle and build a life - and the monster would make sure I would tear it all down - because I was a fool and I kept in touch with the monster. Still hoping - still believing One Day the monster would decide it was Enough and I could be free. The monster will never let me go.
I am a toy of the monster. We exist as a mutant combination of toxicity. And now that I am back in the den of the monster the cycle continues - I was close to breaking free - so I broke down instead. I didn't make it to the ocean, where the monster can't follow with electrons or phone calls. But I endure so prettily, don't you think?
There's a monster in my house. It hides and no one else can see it. I can see it though, I know the monster better than anyone. And one day, it's going to eat me until I'm dead and no one will know. Not today, probably not tomorrow - I endure so well. But every day I stay here the monster is right outside the door, waiting for another bite.
There will be a funeral, flowers and crocodile tears - maybe even real ones after the monster erases all the memories. Remember me. The monster did it.