itty and the monster

7 Oct

spooky door 1


The first time I opened the door I was eighteen.  Since he wasn’t a stranger, I invited him in, never dreaming he’d stay so long.  Had I known better, I’d have pretended no one was home, saving us all a lot of grief.

He always wore black and had irritating quirks and peculiar ways.  I’d say he was funny like that, but actually, he never cracked even the tiniest smile; instead, he was all business, heavy and bleak, like the kind of storm where the air suddenly ripens with so much moisture it’s nearly impossible to breathe.

I always blamed Mother for bringing him home the first time, but looking back I honestly believe he was really Dad’s associate, one of those obnoxious, burly types that sometimes followed him around.  What I didn’t know until years later was that he was an old family friend whose relatives before him had deep, troubling relationships with generations of my kin.

It’s both ironic and perhaps a bit unusual that his predecessors were acquainted with both sides of my family, maternal and paternal; but the longer I live, the more I recognize repetitive patterns that are so distinct it’s impossible to confuse them with coincidence.

I might call our meeting fate, but I prefer to view fate through rosier lenses.  Mother used to get disgusted with what she called my romantic view of life; she would still judge my perspective as frivolous if she could, but she has Alzheimer’s now.  Still, some days I can see it in her eyes, that disapproving scowl, that once strong and swift index finger wagging in my face, telling me how ridiculously selfish I am, how I am a carbon copy of my father’s mother, that self-centered, manipulative shrew and it still stings.

My grandmother, whom I greatly adored, and whom I try daily to emulate in the strong-minded survivalist spirit she so perfectly emitted, was the life-jacket to which I clung with all my might; even though at sixteen she’d opened the door to her father’s confidant, letting him in.

By forty I sometimes confused the dark man with a livelier one.  Sometimes they seemed to share the same body, like Yin and Yang on speed.  Ten years later I understood the lively guy never existed; he was a defense mechanism, an automatic response to having spent so much time with the heavy guy back in my youth.

It used to be all about me, and I carried Mother’s sharp words in my arms like I was carrying shrapnel I’d pulled from my body, guarding it in case I needed it again.  Today if depression knocks on my door, I cop a real attitude. It’s not about me anymore; it’s always about somebody else, someone I love or have never met.  Someone I heard about on the ten o’clock news, or a child, or an old person.  Or wounded soldiers and abused animals.  Or melting icebergs.  Or cleared rain forests, or beached Dolphin and Whales.  Or bad air and dwindling water supplies. Or war and cruelty.

Today I’m the hard-core shrew pounding my own chest, but I’m pretty lucky; no one throws stones or spits out my name.  No one tries to bust my spunk, they leave me alone because I’m just being me.  They call me Mom or Nonnie, or honey, or friend, but you can call me






11 Responses to “itty and the monster”

  1. Tracy October 7, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Oh Itty…this is heartwrenching and yet poignant and beautiful at the same time!!!! I’m going to call you Itty!!!! And say Itty… You are truly an inspiration!❤️

    • ittymac October 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

      Thank you for the kind words. I draw a great deal of inspiration from you too. I really do. Love.

      • Tracy October 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

        We inspire each other Itty❤️

  2. Claudia Anderson October 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    Sometimes I feel so dense, never really “getting it” with my first try. Once I DO get it, doors open and I feel the intensity. So it was tonite reading your story. And Im so glad you made it to this side so I could call you a friend. Itty.

    • ittymac October 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Best-est friends, Claudia!

  3. 2ndhalfolife October 8, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    ❤ You are such an inspirational writer.

    • ittymac October 8, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Thank you but I believe inspiration in one form or another can be found in all writing. Your poetry most especially moves my soul, makes me think deeply, and inspires.

  4. theempathyqueen October 13, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    Itty, your writing is wonderful. I can sink into your illustrated words and sip from some of the finest writing.

  5. witchyluck November 15, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    kick the dark dude in the nadgers and come play in the sun. 😉

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