Shorter works

How did my mother know?

As my mother looked down at me for the first time, there was no physical handicap about me; I could not speak; I said nothing, made no sound; and perhaps I looked much like any other newborn baby looked, so how did she know that I was not supposed to be loved; what told her that?

Perhaps the midwife tapped her on her shoulder and whispered, “Not this one; another one will come along, but not this one.” And from that moment my mother’s touch went cold. And I shivered. And the more I shivered, the more she distanced herself from me, pushed me away, until I was beyond the touch of any person’s warmth. Not this one.

And I carry that chill around with me. It seems that all other people I meet can feel it, as though that midwife knew everyone and trod the Earth only five steps behind me, or hid within each crowd, unseen, until some new person approached me, when she would emerge from the crowd to tap them on the shoulder also, “Not this one,” and they too would feel the chill, stand back in some terrible awe. Perhaps. Yes, perhaps that is how it works. And I see the look in their questioning eyes: What is this feeling; why is there such cold within you? I do not want it; it’s not for me, no, this cold is too much; I cannot see it or feel it, but I sense it is there, some great ghostly cloud of cold that hangs within you; your sight makes me shiver to my core; I do not know why, but I must back away; I cannot, dare not touch you, lest I become chilled also.

And so they flee.

And I must bear my cold alone.

How did she know; how did my mother know that it was me who should be laid aside, placed beyond the reach of any human warmth?

Perhaps human warmth does not exist. Perhaps it is like this for all people. Yes, perhaps I have imagined it. I am a dreamer. I have been granted the gift of life, but I want more. Perhaps it is me who has sentenced myself to this constant yearning, for perhaps what I yearn for does not exist. Perhaps. But I only know that I cannot switch this desire off. No matter how much I try, it keeps returning, calling to me to seek to be loved; I need to be loved; I don’t want anything else; can not someone just love me, please——

Yes, I think that is it. When I look around at other people, who all seem to be happy, I realize that it is just me. There is something deeply wrong within me. I have this ugly desire burning at my core, this misguided emotion, this unachievable desire to be loved.

Yes, I can see it all so clearly now as I stand on the edge of this great height, this windy precipice, and I feel almost elated as I know that I will soon be parted from this twisted desire within me; I will soon kill this ugly heart, wrench the life from it as I hurtle towards the rocky, unseen end beneath me, and as I jump, I feel happier than I have ever felt in my life; I am acquainted with elation—This is it; this is what is feels like; at last I truly know how to smile—I am at last separated from my ugly heart and I can feel only joy within me; and I know that this is what it is like to be human; for the first time in my life I feel real; I feel alive; I am filled with joy, and I know that this is how it should be, and it is perfect. That ugly heart is out there, separate from me; I am here, a bundle of joy, of warmth. It is glorious.

And as my body hits the floor, I exit life in a state of profound happiness.

14 January 2010