There was something about Mama’s velvety southern drawl, that made everything she said as cool and soothing as Noxeema on a sunburn.
I don’t know if it was her elongated vowels, the softness of her consonants, or her soft, vanilla scented arms around me, but no matter how real the monsters were to me, when Mama said, “They ain’t nothin’ unda the bed, shugga. Monstas ain’t real”, in that moment, I believed her.
Of course, as soon as she thought I was asleep, and slipped out the bedroom door, I would go rigid in the center of my little twin bed, waiting for the long bony arms to emerge once more, one on each side, followed by the feather-light touch of icy fingertips as they fluttered almost imperceptibly up the length of my body, finally encircling my throat- making it impossible for me to cry out.
Of course, Mama was right. Those monsters weren’t real.
As I grew older, I found out, monsters don’t live under the beds of our childhoods. Sometimes they parade around town as trusted professionals, who we find out much too late, have abused our precious children. Or high school football heroes, who drunk on their own testosterone, rape our daughters in the name of rites of passage.
And then again, there are those that successfully conceal the fact that they are in fact monsters, until they have promised to love, cherish and protect you- “until death do us part.”
I guess that’s the kind even Mama believed in- at least that’s what she alluded to at the trial, when her attorney asked her if she knew who besides herself, may have had a reason to want to see her son-in-law, my husband- dead.
“Why Sir,” Mama purred, with her most gracious southern inflection, “I do believe that would be just about every motha who ever raised-up her baby girl to believe, that monstas- ain’t real.”
This was written to satisfy the following prompts: