Rated R. Contains violence, including some suggestions of. It’s a fairy tale retelling, after all.
The World is Cruel, My Daughter
by Cory Skerry
When my daughter was one year old, I loved her for her smile. Anything could tempt her to joy—my own smile, the noises of cooking food, the proximity of the black kitten I gifted her upon her arrival.
What a fool I made of myself, contorting my face and making unlady-like sounds. All I needed was another giggle and the game would go on. She couldn’t yet ask questions I couldn’t answer and was delighted by the information I volunteered. “Kitty,” “No, it’s hot,” and “Boo!” all brought smiles. Even when she disobeyed me, I never struck her. My disappointment was enough to bring her to tears and she would pour herself dry on my bosom before looking up once again with a hopeful smile. Did I forgive her?
Of course I did.
When my daughter was five, I loved her for her eyes. They were the impossible purplish hue of forget-me-nots. We don’t have them in the salt marsh where I built our tower. Her eyes told me what she would say before she said it. But sometimes she still surprised me.
I bit my tongue when she asked me why our house had no windows on the bottom floor. She still hadn’t conceived of a “door.” I knew she would ask some day, but then, on that cool April morning, I wasn’t prepared.
“The sea rages in the winter, poppet. We don’t have room for her to live with us, do we?”
About the Author
Cory Skerry lives in the Northwest U.S. in a spooky old house that he doesn’t like to admit is haunted. When he’s not peddling (or meddling with) art supplies, he’s writing, reading submissions, or off exploring with his sweet, goofy pit bulls.