My modern-horror version of Dickens' classic, "A Christmas Carol."
The Rationale by G.M. Weger
In the early morning hours I awoke from a dream, and he was standing in the doorway. He had his father’s olive skin, green, catlike eyes, and wavy golden hair. There was something familiar about him, so I didn’t scream. He came and sat at the foot of my bed.
“Do you know me, mother? I’m your son, Aaron.”
I was speechless. He was so close that I could smell his salty skin and grease-stained hands. I thought that I must be in that state halfway between the waking and the sleeping. Last night was All Hallow’s Eve, the night where it is said that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is lifted and one can speak with their departed loved ones. I laid out my offering of crackers and cheese, ham, carrots, some truffles, and shots of rum - things I thought my relatives would enjoy after their long journey across the worlds. I set out pictures of my mother and grandmothers, - my grandmother’s engagement ring, my mother’s pearls, an embroidered tablecloth made by my maternal grandmother - things that reminded me of them or once were theirs, and three small stuffed toys for my lost babies.
“Am I dreaming?” I asked the young man.
“No mother, you’re not.”
“Why have you come?”
“You invited me.” His manner was direct, matter-of-fact, short.
“How did I do that?”
“You put the blue bear on the table for me and asked that I come.”
“Are you my first?”
I remember the tacky upstairs apartment I lived in with his father. The passionate fights we used to have. How he would push me around so violently, throw me up against the wall, just short of hitting me. I remember making up after the fights, how good the sex would be, the orgasms, like a surprise. I remember the hurt when Mike wouldn’t go with me to have the abortion. I was so young. It meant nothing to me to get rid of it.
“Is this how you would be if I had you or how I want to see you?”
“This is the truth. I’ve got the scars to prove it.”
Aaron looked older than his 24 years. It was in his eyes – pain, defeat, anger, defiance - things that weren’t supposed to be in a young man’s face. The eyes tell so much. Looking at old school photos of my sister I could tell what happened that year just by looking at her eyes. They went from childlike, happy, and innocent, to pissed-off and stoned. Lost was the sweetness of youth. But where did it go? When was the exact moment that the eyes changed? Was it when I was born and took the attention away? Was it the first time I betrayed her by going out with Mike?
“What do you want, mother?”
He didn’t want to be there. I could tell by the way he was sitting close, but with a wall between us. “Just to see you, I guess. I’ve often wondered what you would have been like…if I’d had you.”
“Yeah? I’ve got some questions for you too.” He stood up. “Like, why was I born.”
I was too young to be living with a man. He was the quintessential bad dude - a drug-addicted whore who’d do anything for pleasure. I don’t know how we rented our places to live, but we did – two of them. It was in the second one that I got pregnant. By that time, in addition to pot and booze, I’d either smoked swallowed or snorted quaaludes, valium, seconal, acid, cocaine, morphine, crank, angel dust, mushrooms, and pretty much anything I could find in a medicine cabinet. The time spent with Mike is a blur of drugged-out scenes.
“But you weren’t born. I aborted you.” I finally answered, confused.
“You didn’t want me then. That’s worse.”
“How can it be worse when the life I would have given you was so…insane?”
He glared at me and turned his head toward the window. I could see it then. It wasn’t visible on the left side of his face – a lovely, clear complexion with the smooth, olive skin of his Portuguese father. The right was different, like the front side of a cheese grater – angry purple craters – the scars we gave him from our sexual ignorance, and he wore without choice. They were his warrior marks.
“It’s like saying that it’s better not to try because you might fail. You took away my life.”
“It’s complicated Aaron.” I suddenly felt drained. How could I justify my choice to him? I was just a child without thought for what precious life was growing inside me.
He left then. Just turned and faded into a zillion black specks that fell away like so much flea dirt. I wanted to shake it off of me and leave it there, having been its host for too long. I closed my eyes. Silence, how I longed for it.
End part I.