--I KNOW YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT, BUT I STILL MEAN IT
…Over a year ago I wrote a story for “Stripped” an anthology with various writers (most of whom I know). None of the pieces were identified by author and the idea was to write as your opposite gender, thus breaking down gender lines.
This week each author and their gender were identified.
My piece was “The Bear”:
She is reaching around him, past the skin and blood and sonorous breathing. She is up on her tip toes, stretching. It’s something, this feeling, to finally be seeking escape. Sometimes we want to hurt, and the pain feels a penance we deserve.
She does not look behind her. She already knows what he looks like in bed—a bald, sweaty bear. When she married him he was thin with normal-sized nails and teeth. She did not know he was so clever, that, inside he was made of fur.
She’s tried telling herself the fetus is not a child yet. Maybe he will hit me there instead, she’d thought, and he’ll be the one to kill it. That’s how horrible she’d become, abetting baby murder.
But rage is hereditary. The sins of the fathers are handed down. She’d seen it, knew what it felt like, the sheer, red sound of it.
She knows this is the tipping point, yet the planet’s been askew for several years now. Nighttime no longer fades and the days are all black.
On the top closet shelf, inside her Grandmother’s hatbox, she finds the knitting needles. They are steel, silver spears. She still has choices: do nothing, take the baby, herself.
But, she thinks, this is not about her. If she were to kill herself, the bear would still need to eat. He would forage, he would destroy other green forests.
Head and heart—he has them, she thinks. Even bears do.
She aims there.