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Death of my childhood

They say that your childhood ends the minute you realize you’re going to die. That you are just a mortal lump of flesh that will (albeit incomprehensibly far into a distant future since you’re only 10 and a half) expire and only leave a mere nothingness behind. That your childhood ends when you comprehend that just as outer space is infinite, you will only live once and when you die you will be be dead for infinities infinity, for ever and ever, all the way into oblivion.
My childhood ended a little earlier than that. It happened the first time someone I held in high regard let me down. I don’t mean my parents, even if to most children their parents are infallible gods, because mine had already failed me numerous times by having wills of their own and succumbing to emotional displays of affection that excluded me, so I already knew that they could be faulty and were, close to, but not omnipotent. I’m talking about my heroes, my muses, my celebrity gods who made rock that rolled and nudged my heart like a butterfly’s proboscis and who, even though I was too young to know even a word of English back then, spoke directly to me.

The Beatles.

One day I was casually eavesdropping on my fathers adult conversation with his adult friends, while watching the pickup run along the vinyl tracks of Yellow Submarine, and I overheard the words that would slay my poor innocent childhood and spit on its remains. My father laughed and said: “Yellow Submarine, huh… You’d have to be on some really mad drugs to come up with a song like that!”
My heart skipped a beat. The Beatles… had something to do with drugs? It couldn’t be. Drugs were bad, surely the great Paul Meckarty and John Lemon would know that! It couldn’t be true, it had to be a mistake, a cruel joke, a misunderstanding. My heroes were pure and knightly and would never dabble in those dangerous things that were either chemical and looked like flour or was like those star-shaped green things that grew among my parents tomato plants out behind the shed. I wouldn’t stand for talk like that about The Beatles.

“Daddy?” My jaw set but my lower lip trembling I approached him and his friends as they sat around the kitchen table drinking amber liquid that came in cans and smelled like stale bread.

“What, sweetie?” He patted me on the head and scratched me behind my ear. He always touched me as if I was a dog, not in a demeaning way, just out of the awkwardness he felt around this little being that wasn’t yet an actual real person and who had, somehow, come from him. I knew he would give it to me straight. He didn’t believe in patronizing children and had never lied to me about anything, even when I had requested information that a child’s mind isn’t yet developed enough to process.

“Did The Beatles really take drugs?” There was no going back now.

“Are you kidding? They were completely off their heads on that shit. It’s a wonder none of them died of it!”

The disappointment made it hard to breathe. I broke down crying and threw myself into his arms while his friends hid their faces behind their hands and tried in vain to stifle their laughter at my childlike despair. My father held me awkwardly to his chest and pounded me in the back with his palm (the way men always hug their dudes) until my ribs ached and my teeth rattled. Then he dislodged himself and held me by the shoulders at arm’s length.

“Listen. Don’t ever trust anyone, don’t ever put your faith in anyone. You are responsible for your own happiness and other people’s failure to live up to your expectations will only hurt you if you let it. No one is above you.”

I was 8.

Spider life and me

There’s something foul living in this body. The smell is that of something rotting. It’s the dead spider inside. She crawled in, and then she died. She laid a bunch of eggs somewhere in the uterus and they have started to hatch.

That tingling feeling when I think of you is actually thousands of tiny spider legs drumming their way through my body. The local pharmacy has no cure. Various creams that take away fungus, itch and unpleasant odours. Unpleasant odour? It is unpleasant.

My uterus is scratched where her rough body has layed pressed against the tissue walls and it’s full of swollen infected boils where she’s bitten me. They say I’m lucky.

Her children are curious little beings. When I look into a mirror I can sometimes see their sharp hairy fangs poking out through the skin, followed closely by black shiny eye beads. When they catch me looking they quickly withdraw into my head, snickering. I chase them with razors.

When I cut I see blood, my own mixed with her filthy. As her children grow bigger, they stop fitting in the smaller veins. If I’m to get them I must aim for the thicker veins deeper inside. Maybe I can kill them all before I lose too much blood. Wouldn’t that be lucky.

The water here knows all my secrets. It gets mixed up with me when I bathe or wash down pills. Through the pipes of the entire building the tell-tale water runs, whispering and laughing. When I go down to the basement the washing machines glance at each other and roll their eyes. She tried to drown herself again. Can you believe that?

I keep threatening the spiders. If I die, where will you live?! I scream at my reflection. They snicker among themselves and one or two of them whispers that dead is just as good. They say they feed off of the things I eat. Maybe they’re just trying to put thoughts in my head but I’ve stopped eating just to be on the safe side.

I threaten them with doctors. What if I should find someone who can actually help me, who can remove them? But they won’t let themselves be fooled. They know I don’t dare go outside. 

Because when I walk too fast, they start running, their little legs hammering through my veins and then I think of you.