‘The beast stomped down the hallway, its bedroom door thrown open so hard, it hit the wall(or it would have had a rubber stopper not been applied for such occurrences). In the kitchen, the family inhaled a collective breath. The mother greeted the beast by its former name, frightened to illicit the wrong reaction this early in the day. The beast was known to be at her worst on waking. The beast grunted and yanked open the double pantry doors.
‘There’s nothing to eat!’ screamed the beast. It moved to the fridge and yanked open the door. The mother sidestepped quickly to avoid injury.
‘There’s toast, cereal, eggs, fruit or yoghurt,’ said the mother, knowing it was futile, but knowing also that not to speak would lead to a fierce stare down(the usual) but with accusations of neglect.
‘There’s NOTHING TO EAT!’ shouted the beast. The mother gave reassuring looks to her youngest children who’s wide eyes followed the beasts’ every move. ‘This food is shit! This house is shit! I can’t believe it!’ The beast slammed the fridge door, causing the items on top to wobble precariously.
‘Please don’t slam the door,’ said the mother gently, knowing it was her duty to say such things. ‘And don’t swear.’
‘Piss off!’ shouted the beast.
‘I said don’t-,’ the mother began.
‘DONT TALK TO ME!’ shouted the beast and stomped back down the hallway. The bedroom door slammed.
In the kitchen, the family exhaled and continued their usual chatter about library books, after school sport and whether they’d prefer a red or a green apple in their lunchboxes.
Silently the mother considered wearing a more muted colour that would not stir the beast’s instinct to attack. She also began to prepare for the next interaction which invariably started; ‘I’m Hungry! I want takeaway. I want something from the bakery!’
It was an entirely normal school morning.’
The beast; aka the Gargoyle, moved into my daughter’s bedroom after she turned eleven. By then she was over 5 feet, 7 inches tall and men my age(mid thirties) were looking at her in very unfatherly ways. Unfortunately, the gargoyle did not look like a gargoyle, she looked like heaven. She turned heads everywhere she went. This did not help matters any. To have a gargoyle in your daughter’s bedroom is one thing, to have her appear normal, beautiful even(except for the snarl crease along her cute button nose) who behaved quite well in company, is another.
Because no one believes you. They think you’re being unkind. Until they see for themselves the beast shouting, kicking her school bag along the ground, asking the same questions incessantly and being angry about the same answer over and over. And then they give you a sympathetic look, walk briskly away and never come closer than ten feet ever again in case whatever it is, is catching.
But around 16.5 years of age, the gargoyle moved out and my daughter moved back in. It was a pleasant shock. Understandably though, the family did not trust that she was yet human, though she had begun to show human emotion such as regret, empathy and kindness. I discovered when revisiting with her why her door needed fixing, that the gargoyle period was, for my daughter, somewhat of a mystery.
‘Remember all that slamming? Remember how the doorknob fell off that time? Remember when you punched the door in a frenzied attack?’ To this I got a blank, slightly horrified look. And then;
‘Really? That must have been awful.’ !!!
The gargoyle really wasn’t my daughter at all, but an imposter!
I have deduced that while the adolescent brain of my daughter was being rewired, a gargoyle was put in her place.
But I know that wasn’t the only reason.
The introduction of the boyfriend happened just after 16.5 years(for those who don’t know, this is often a tall, teenaged person with a pleasant arrangement of facial features, tight jeans and the faint whiff of yesterdays Lynx body spray). This close; (very close) interaction with another human being, which the former gargoyle isn’t related to, helped her progress into becoming humanoid.
More pleasing personality traits emerged; the ability to negotiate, patience, listening, sadness, happiness, and appreciation. Her progress was almost complete. The last gargoyle trait of extreme laziness was yet to diminish, but then the teenager got two jobs and now sometimes works 7 days a week.
Society has been blessed with a beautiful, smart, creative human woman.