A word must be put in for monstrosity.
It has an ugly head, but disguises itself wonderfully under the soft and peachy skin of a four year old child who is loved by everybody. She knows she is loved. She knows her smile will charm an adult, and a kiss on a wrinkled cheek will yield more affection, which she thrives on.
Her eyes are wont to fill quickly, as her heart is so sensitive, and the adults croon over her, saying what a kind and wonderful soul she has.
‘You were so sweet and charming, Len,’ my mother says.
She doesn’t know the truth.
She doesn’t know that when I was four, I used to pinch a little girl. I pinched her and she cried.
I did it again the next day.
And the day after that as well.
I don’t know why I did it. I just remember doing it. I remember feeling guilty.
So why did I do it?
What was wrong with me?
Was I guilty about doing it, or was I guilty about being found out?
If you look at photographs, you see a small child with shiny brown curly hair and a dimpled smile. Her eyes sparkle with innocence and brim with joy.
If you peep into my memories, you see lots of love. Lashings of it. I am saturated in love. I have so much that it spills easily out of me and I can make little gifts of it to give to everybody else.
So where was the love in my four year old brain when I pinched that innocent little girl who did nothing to me?
My mother doesn’t know that when I was seventeen, I thought I was in love, and did many selfish things to chase something that was bad for me.
She doesn’t know that when I was twenty three, I felt hard done by, and used my husband’s love for me to selfishly get my own way, even though another party deserved to have her whims met more than I.
She doesn’t know that I have temper tantrums, sometimes, and say cruel things to my husband, who goes out of his way to please me, and who always wants to treat me well.
She thinks I am kind, and compassionate, and sweet, and she takes comfort in the fact that a child of hers creates good in the world.
But you see, I don’t feel so good.
I feel monstrous.
I cannot sleep at night, because I cannot ask forgiveness of those I have wronged, because I am either terrified they will crash back into my life, or because they do not know I have wronged them.
I did not commit a murder. I didn’t take anybody’s rights away. They probably don’t even think about what happened because they don’t know, and even if they did, they would not think it was monstrous.
But it is.
Oh, it is.
And humanity is not perfect, nor will it ever be. Humans make mistakes, that is for sure. But I have learned one heartbreaking thing about adulthood, and that is that humans have the power to hurt others. They can hurt others without realising it, so very deeply, and they can make selfish mistakes.
The mistakes you can make, others can make too. So you really should work on treating people well, and really think about what slithers out of your mouth.
That is all I have to say today.
I wanted to disguise these dark thoughts in a piece of fiction, but I don’t have it in my heart. I feel very heavy and monstrous.
I have to work on being kinder, and better, and more honest. And dear God, forgive me for pinching that girl when I was four years old, because I severely regret it. What was wrong with me?