The Old Woman and Her Handsome Boy
Sometimes its better not knowing
The Old Woman sat in the restaurant and she fidgeted…yes, she actually fidgeted for the first time since she was a girl. She was nervous, so nervous she could barely stand it. Her daughter had offered to come with her to lend her support, but she had felt it was better this way.
50 years ago, she had been young, so young and naïve…and he was handsome, so handsome and charming. They had made love under a tree, just the one time, but that’s all that it took. When her father found out, he was furious. He had called her a “whore” and said she was a disgrace, that she had shamed her family. He was a hard and unloving man, her father, with bright blue eyes, and dark hair, even then already turning to grey. And she had feared him. In fact everyone feared him, her mother, her brothers, everyone – the truth was, that even decades after his death she STILL feared her father, the hard and unloving man, with bright blue eyes…
So she had been sent away to live with an aunt out of state and when he was born the child was taken away, a small and plump boy…she had only seen him once and he was handsome, so handsome and charming…her handsome boy, and then they had taken him away.
Eventually the girl was sent home, but she dreamed of her handsome boy, oh how she had dreamed. She wondered what he would look like now, and was he safe? Was he happy? She had planned to find him, but the pages of the book of life had turned too fast, and one year had become ten, then ten was twenty, and finally nearly 50 years had gone by. Oh, there were many good years, she had found love and married a man, a fine man and there had been other children too – two sons and a daughter. But there had been sorrow as well, the loss of a fourth child had nearly broken her, and her heart still ached when she remembered holding her fine man’s hand as the cancer had taken him from her…but she had always dreamed of her handsome boy. Of holding his little hand, walking on the beach…and other things. Things that they had only done in her heart…
Then came the day. The day the doctor’s had given her the news, the news that confirmed that no one gets out of life alive…that was when she resolved to find her handsome boy. She hired people to find him, and find him they had. The same people had asked him, and she waited on his answer. Thankfully, he had agreed to meet with her.
So now the Old Woman sat by herself and fidgeted, more nervous than she had ever been. Waiting to see someone she had not seen in nearly 50 years. Oh how she wanted to tell him the why for the things that she had done, how the handsome and charming young man had left her, a girl herself not even 15 years old, alone and with child and how her father, whom she feared, had raged and sent her away and how they had taken him from her, her handsome boy. But mostly she wanted to tell him how she had dreamed of him…
The time came and he walked into the room. He didn’t look nearly 50, with his reddish brown hair, her hair she thought to herself. At first he reminded her of his father, the handsome and charming young man, but there was something of her side in him as well. He was dressed in a nice black suit, with a classy blue tie, and he wore dark glasses. He walked up and introduced himself and she asked him to sit.
They ordered food, though she couldn’t eat, but they talked. They talked about his wife and his children – her unknown grandchildren. And he asked about her children – his unknown siblings.
Finally she asked her handsome boy: “you have not asked me about your father”.
Pushing the dark glasses up the bridge of his nose, he replied: “No need. I already know all about him.”
“How?” the Old Woman asked. But he just smiled.
“You know I dreamed about you!” She finally blurted. Unable to control herself any longer. “I have never stopped dreaming about you…”
“Really?” He interrupted. “I used to dream about you too. You and him”.
“You did?” She asked.
“Oh yes. I dreamed that it was a mistake, that I had been kidnapped. That you and he would come and rescue me from THEM…”
The Old Woman stammered “them? What do you mean…?”
But he continued: “Yes. Every time I was beaten, or locked away. Every time I was punched in the face or smacked in the mouth, every single fucking time I was told that I was useless and unloved. I cried for you two to rescue me.”
The Old Woman looked upon her Handsome Boy with tears welling in her eyes and said “I’m sorry. I am so, so sorry…”
“Oh don’t be! Cause there’s more. Oh there’s a whole bunch more. See in time I began to stop dreaming you would find me, but that I would find YOU. I would find you both and I would kill you.”
The Old Woman looked upon her firstborn and forgotten son, her handsome boy with shock and horror…
“Are you proud of me mommy?” He suddenly asked.
“What? W-w-what?” She stammered.
“A simple question. It was the same one I asked him. He didn’t answer either.”
“What? Who?” Her mind raced and her heart beat in her chest like a hammer.
“My father. I asked him about you, and then I told him about me. I told him about the many, many lives I have taken. And then I asked him ‘are you proud of me daddy?’ before I cut his throat from ear to ear.”
That is when her handsome boy finally took off his dark glasses and she really saw him, REALLY SAW HIM for the first time, a hard and unloving man, with bright blue eyes. Her father’s eyes, but with the flames of hatred and madness in them.
“Are you proud of me mommy? Your little boy, who hurts and murders people. The little boy who cut his own father’s throat. Who murdered his adoptive parents? Are you proud you brought this monster into the world? Because I learned long ago. I am indeed a monster."
The Old Woman’s mind teetered on the brink of a yawning abyss.
“Oh don’t worry mommy. I am not going to hurt you. I have wanted to for a long, long time mommy. But I won’t hurt you or my brothers or my sister or their families either. You see I know you are sick, I have kept tabs on you for decades. I know you don’t have much time left. But I want you to know that I am going to wash my hands in blood. And every time I take another life, I am going to whisper your name in their ears.”
He got up to go, and left a couple of fifties on the table, “when your time comes mommy. And when you are on your deathbed, please, do dream of me again.” Then he walked out.
The Old Woman sat there, her eyes blank as the dream that had sustained her all these years, the dream of her handsome boy faded like mist in the morning sun...