Miranda’s eyes shifted in confusion. What exactly had played before her? “The whole time?” she asked.
Daniel’s nose poked through the torn silicone mask. His face came into a slow focus; a bashful smile touched his lips.
“The whole time?” she asked again. Her eyes took in the enormity of the events unfolding before her. Did her soon-to-be ex-husband really disguise himself as an elderly matron? Had he passed himself off as a nanny for the past few weeks? The truth sank. Her eyes narrowed to thin daggers which her forehead swallowed. “The whole time?” she spat through gritted teeth.
Elena stood by the doorway. She carried a haughty demeanor with the ease of someone born into old money. Except that she wasn’t, as her mother-in-law pointed out whenever the subject matter of grandchildren surfaced. The old woman spat that Elena was nothing but a barren imitation. Yet, nothing in her posture or poise betrayed Elena’s humble beginnings. Not then, not now.
Elena moved to the windowsill, ears fixed on the monitors. Her gaze settled on a family of four across the hospital’s courtyard, the little girl skipping. She waited for the sound of freedom, the old woman’s last exhale.
He played with the children in an uninhibited manner. With them, Michael could be himself without carrying the types of tensions that adults bear. But, the repressed always finds a way to light and although he willed to remain childlike, his slim build began to fill out. Arms and legs stretched. Hair grew in covered areas. He knew not what to do with the unfurling of his body. He got on his knees and prayed. He meditated. He immersed himself completely to his art. But the body wants what the body wants and the repression occasionally surfaced in involuntary impulses.
His earliest memories of adult love involved pain. Dad beat Mom because he loved her. Mom accepted Dad sleeping around because she loved him. Mom and Dad beat the children for their own good because they loved them. In the middle of the night, he’d overhear thrusts and groans coming from Mom and Dad’s bedroom in the name of love. It’s little wonder he grew up afraid of grown up love. Love equaled violence and he wanted no part of that for himself. He lived a Peter Pan existence and surrounded himself with innocent children incapable of eliciting complicated love.