Monster – Chapter 2 (Non-Fiction)
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As unpredictable as the monster was, sometimes she was like a VCR tape that had been watched until the machine ate it. Over the years, her need to lash out, to punish, to hurt, could always be counted on. The abuses piled on, from the time she beat me with a belt so vigorously that it broke into two sections when I was six, to the most frightening moment of my entire life when she tried to force me to put my hands on the kitchen table so she could cut my fingers off after I damaged some of her kitchen knives at age eight.
I spent the majority of my young life in such a state of fear that she would eventually kill me during a blind rage that I’m still damaged by the trauma to this day. Books and baseball were my only true outlets of escape, and baseball was a summers-only affair that couldn’t be relied upon during the majority of the year. Books, on the other hand, allowed me to leave my world and enter others, from the strange, horrifying settings Stephen King created, to the somewhat cheesy but still enjoyable Nancy Drew series. As an adult, I find myself comparing my imagination to that of Calvin, from the comic strip by Bill Watterson, “Calvin and Hobbes,” except instead of having two loving parents, I had a single, terrifying, toothless, monstrous creature who was as real as some of Calvin’s imagined beasts.
Devouring books, from whatever I could constantly check out at the public library, to the numerous books lining the shelves within the duplex that was more prison and torture chamber than a home, is the one thing that kept me sane, kept me from eventually turning the tables on the monster and murdering her. The monster realized that this was likely an eventual outcome at some point, as the object of her fury continued to grow both physically and mentally, and she knew that one day I would no longer be the punching bag who would cower and cry as she rained down physical blows, enhanced by a flurry of verbal strikes designed to keep me from believing that I was anything but a worthless piece of shit—as if her goal was to be able to look back one day and think, “He turned out exactly as I predicted!” Continue reading