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December 5, 2010

I found you at the party.  You were a discard from the merriment, a castoff.  And I found you.

The children did not want you.  A little girl, blonde and pigtailed and bedecked in red and green ribbon, cried when she saw you, half hidden behind a bowl of frosting that was – like her ribbons – more suited to the season than your garish stripes.

The parents were no better.  They recoiled at your two faces, pulling their children away by the hand and speaking hushed, harsh words to hasten them to another craft table.  They left you alone with the crumbs of Christmas joy.  If you could weep, I’m sure you would have; I would have, awkward and alone as you were.

But I saw in you something more than they did.  I saw past your pink and blue splatters, your disjointed stripes that gobbed and ran together like fluorescent drool spat from the mouth of some feeble-brained, gingerbread Mother Goddess.  I saw past your asymmetrical limbs; an arm here, a splayed pair of legs set too far to one side to ever let you walk, much less to dance.

And you were beautiful to me.

I took you to my table, alone, just the two of us, where we sat in the dark corner away from Santa and Mrs. Claus, away from the presents and the trees and the lights that twinkled in defiance of our creeping dark.

“You are my monster,” I whispered to you.

And your icing faces smiled at me.

Hours later, when the presents were unwrapped and the children were being bundled in long, warm coats, and the two of us were finally fully alone, I realized something.  And only too late, you realized it as well.

I was your monster, too.

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