The irises of her eyes were a deep, dark brown, so dark; it was hard to see the difference between where the iris ended, and the pupil began. It was easy to get lost in her eyes, wondering if you’d ever be able to see her pupils’ depths. I spent many days looking deeply into them while she told me how bad I was. It was hard not to be bad and even harder to figure out how to be good. It was difficult to avoid making her angry.
“ANDREW! What did I tell you? Don’t leave your shoes in the middle of the hallway! Are you trying to make me fall and break my neck?”
“I’m sorry, mother, I had to pee badly after school, and I didn’t want to track my muddy shoes through the house. I promise I’ll move them.”
“Sorry isn’t good enough, Andrew. I’ve already tripped over them and twisted my ankle. You know what that means. Go get the bath ready!”
Whenever I was terrible or did something that made my mother angry, she made me take a bath. She said it was because I was a “dirty naughty boy,” and I needed to be cleaned. It’s happened so many times I’m used to the process. I’m just not sure how much more I can take. I can’t talk to my friends about it, or they’ll call me a big baby. They all think my mother is hot and continuously talks about how much they want to do her, so if they knew what I went through, what she did to me, they’d just say how lucky I am.
I’ve learned not to make the bathwater too hot or too cold. If it’s too much one way or the other, she just punishes me more. It hasn’t always been this way, though. When my father was around, it was almost like what you see on TV on what a real family should be like. Mother used to love baking and always had a new, delicious dessert waiting for us right after dinner. Father played catch with me when the weather was beautiful and taught me how to fish. I loved spending time with him outside.
My father passed away about seven years ago. Mother said he died of cancer. I was only six years old and didn’t know better, but ever since he passed, I’ve heard rumors that there might have been something else that my mother didn’t tell me. Hints at possible foul play that the neighbors say were at the hands of my mother.
“Is the bath ready, Andrew?”
“Yes, mother, but can I take it by myself this time? I know I messed up, and I’m sorry. I’ve learned my lesson, I promise.”
“If you learned your lesson, it wouldn’t have happened. Now shut up, take off your clothes, and get your dirty ass in the tub.”
I reluctantly obeyed, but not without making it clear; I didn’t want to do this. I hoped if I made myself seem pathetic enough, eventually, she would give it a rest. If only I knew how wrong I was. How much more can I take? How many more baths will I go through, looking into my mother’s deep, brown eyes while she touched me – down there – ridding me of what she called my dirtiness? How much abuse can a 13-year-old take before enough was enough?
Water was splashing everywhere. Mother’s arms and legs were flailing all around me. Her face was turning blue as bubbles and water kept splashing uncontrollably. Her dark, brown eyes were looking at me with disbelief, horror, and confusion. As much as I felt looking at my hands holding her neck, my thumbs on her throat, squeezing as hard as I could until everything went quiet. I kept holding her neck, thinking it wasn’t over, looking at her lifeless body beneath mine in the water. I was such a naughty, dirty boy, but I punished an even naughtier, dirtier woman.
To this day, all I want is to stop those dark, brown eyes from starring at me. One by one, I will clean them all. I will rid the world of those dirty, naughty women.
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