How To Make A Monster
I’m really trying to finish this homework as fast as I can. That is the only way I get to play Warcraft on my play station console before dinner. But, right now, I am finding it very hard to concentrate. The sound of my mother screaming from my parent’s room fills my ears, distracting me. Her shrill voice, ringing with helplessness, pierces every wall standing between us to reach me. It is almost as if she is calling out to me. Except, she is not calling out to me.
This is not the first time this is happening. I used to think it was because they were doing that thing male and female adults do – I read about it in an adult magazine. The magazine said sometimes the woman screams. I used to think that was why my mother was always screaming. It was not until I noticed the scars on her back that I realized what was really happening. The screams were not because of the adult thing. No. My father had been beating my mother all this while. Beating her like the discipline master does latecomers. That’s what had really been happening. And the exact same thing happening at this very moment.
I get out of my seat and head towards their room. They must not know I am close by. Honestly, I don’t even know why I am going. I have no motivation whatsoever. It’s not like I am going there to stop my father. Not like a have a plan to rescue her from him. I truly wish I could do that; rescue her from him. I wish I have what is required of me to go in and challenge my dad. But, no. The best I can do is stop close to the door to listen and imagine the pain she must be feeling. And that is what I am doing. Listening and imagining. If I must admit the truth, I feel helpless myself. Just as helpless as my mother herself must be feeling right now.
I almost got caught doing this last week. If dad had caught me that day, he probably would have handed me a beating of my own. Don’t get me wrong, my father isn’t always a terror. But, sometimes, he transforms into this very horrible person. And by “sometimes,” what I really mean is almost every time. I don’t know why that happens? And I don’t want to know why. I just want it to stop. I want peace. Nowadays, it has become very difficult to remember my dad ever being a loving man.
The screams are beginning to subside now. I know it’s time to head back to my room. I tiptoe into the living room and walk quietly past my play station console, completely ignoring it. My interest in playing video games tonight is gone.
I step into my room and crash into my bed. I think I must have slept off immediately. The sound of the door to my room opening wakes me up minutes later. And, there, standing at the threshold of my room is my mother. She is all smiles, looking at me with tender eyes. The smile is a smoke screen; I see the pain hidden behind the tenderness. It is as clear as day to me. I glance at the wall clock, less than thirty minutes ago she had been screaming for fear. And, now, here she is in front of me, smiling. Smiling like the pain had mysteriously disappeared. Like the pain was never even there in the first place. Like life was perfect and she could not wish for better. She smiles like my father hadn’t just treated her inhumanely, causing her to hurt physically, mentally and emotionally.
“Dinner is ready.” My mother’s voice breaks the silence. Her voice is not shaky like I had expected it would be when she eventually spoke. It is surprising that her voice doesn’t give anything off.
I nod in response, managing a bleak smile. She regards me for few seconds before she leaves.
I arrive at the table and watch my mother play her role as the dutiful wife. I don’t understand it. Why is she never angry at him for how he makes her cry? Why does she not hate him? I hate my math teacher because he flogs me anytime I cannot answer his question correctly. I hate the discipline master because he beats me every time I arrive late to school. That’s the right thing to do; hate the people who inflict pain and make you cry. But with my mother, things are a little different. It is almost as if she does not mind the beatings. Like the harder he beats her, the more she feels obliged to show him love and affection. I want her to hate him. Maybe if she did, he would see the need to change.
“Do you want your meal to get cold before you start eating?” I look up and lock eyes with my father. He is looking straight into my eyes. His expression is calm and endearing. He looks like he doesn’t even have it in him to be angry at anyone. But, strangely, I am terrified. I can’t help it. As I look at him I see the man who repeatedly causes my mother pain and misery. It is very hard, almost impossible, to see a different image right now. He continues to look at me. It’s like he has an idea what I’m thinking. I avert his gaze, wash my hand and begin eating to avoid any trouble.
Dinner is a silent affair. This is how it always is following every of their fights. Usually, my father would joke at the table, the sound of laughter filling the room as we eat. But today is not one of such days. Today each person quietly minds his own affair. We finish eating and I join mother in the kitchen to clean up. I steal occasional glances at her unnoticed. She is distracted and eerily silent. Her silence is really unnerving. Even when I leave the faucet on to go empty some leftovers in the trash can, she says nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. She says nothing! That is so unlike her. She normally would have scolded me without hesitation for such “carefree” and “wasteful” attitude. But, not today. Today, she has bigger fish to fry.
I know why she I silent today. It’s not like it is hard to figure out. I know she is only waiting for me to leave the kitchen so she can freely break down in tears. She just wants to let loose. Sometimes ago, I overheard her telling one of her friends that my father is a monster. I know a monster isn’t a friendly animal. You don’t keep one as a pet. So, why has my mother decided to love a monster? Why would she smile after every time that monster made her cry? Why would she still be good to him even when he has been bad to her? I have unsuccessfully tried to find answers to these questions for a long. But today I conclude… maybe there is actually nothing wrong with being a monster. Maybe being a monster is the right thing to do.