She is beautiful.
I love her… as much as the sun loves the dawn, with certainty and a calm assurance.
My love for her is all consuming. It is almost reverential. I gaze at her, admiring the soft daintiness of her delicate face cradled by an unkempt mass of tumbling curls. They are always wind-swept and at war with her bobby pins. Her beauty is reflective of everything ethereal and aureate. She is within reach and yet untouchable.
Does she notice me?
No, she does not. But, I do not mind because I notice her and that is enough for me. It satiates my love. When I look at her, I see not the imperfections heaped on her by society but, the beauty bestowed by God. That is my aphrodisiac. I tack that vision to the fabric of my love and stitch it up tightly in my heart.
She is my secret just like my love for her is.
‘Take the trash out!’
Ma’s rancorous voice, sharp like a whiplash, startles me out of my reverie. I tear my eyes away from my reflection in the mirror, drop the comb and scuttle to do her bidding.
‘Good-for-nothing slacker,’ Ma rants; the sting in her angry words lances me deep, as always. ‘Nothing can turn ugly into good looking. Twenty years old and not an ounce of brain in that head! Nothing can make anyone love you…nothing.’
Some mothers get short-changed for maternal love, don’t they? So what if on my plump frame, my pock-marked cheeks flanked by scars and topped by hooded, mismatched eyes with a visible squint in one, lend me an ugly visage? Beauty isn’t just skin deep, is it?
At Ma’s words my eyes flash. I hate you! I wish you were dead!
The words gag in my throat. Ma knows my secret. She knows who I obsessively desire. Didn’t she catch me preening in front of the mirror?
Now, she mocks me. She projects her loathing of me, of my physical attributes, outwards. Her words, like serrated barbs, cut deep, unsettling my confidence especially at times when she decries – ‘Oh God, why punish me so? Why saddle me with such a child?’
But, I manage to overlook her grievous quibbles. She is my mother after all. I am old enough to survive independent of her. As such, love is not our bond but our bane to share.
Our gaze locks and I see it in her eyes. She loves me too, my heart sings.
I blush. Her cheeks flush crimson. A hesitant smile parts my lips. She smiles back. Nervously, I pat back a lock of my unruly hair. She secures hers too. A little emboldened, I extend a hand towards her. Her fingers meet mine mid-way. A delicious tingle courses through my body…our bodies.
Finally, our consummated hearts beat as one as the mirror reflects my ugliness as her beauty.
I know that I will never love anyone but her.
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