Guilt? Not guilt, precisely. It is more like a demon that I try to dress up and sit at the tea table with the other doll-dreams from childhood. I sit here, deep in my own subconscious, and stare at it in its cage. It is sleeping now, but I know that soon, it will wake and unfasten the many bolts that attempt to hold it in. It will slip into my consciousness, run down the halls of my mind, nosing its way into every room, leaving muddy paw prints on the carpet of my Career, my Dreams, my Future. It touches everything.
I stare at it sleeping, and I wonder what birthed this thing. I rise and go to the Restricted section of my library, and pull open the old file cabinets. There, in the hazy memories of an eight year old, I find Abuse. He stands, watching, as a little girl is slammed against a wall, and a man looms over her, menacing and stronger than she’ll ever be. Abuse laughs as that first crushing wave of powerlessness pours over the girl, and snickers again and again throughout the years as the girl fights with every weapon in her puny child’s arsenal to prevent that wave from breaking over her again. I find Abuse, and he smiles at me, and I wonder, is this the father of my demon?
But where is its mother? Perhaps she is here, in that five year old child frantically pulling drowning worms from the puddles on the sidewalk. She is Compassion, and she is beautiful. I am convinced I have solved the mystery: my demon is the love-child of Abuse and Compassion. But I still wonder… who molded it? Was this an amicable divorce, did they share equal parenting rights? I pray, oh I pray, that that lovely creature Compassion did not have my demon only on the weekends. But there is no way to tell, as I look at it now.
I live with this pet in my mind. It is mostly house broken now. But sometimes, it scratches and claws and whines and cries until I relent, and let it out. I put on its collar and leash, and take it for a walk, and pretend that it is normal. I pass a gorgeous man walking, not wheeling, on the street, and he smiles at me. And I want, more than anything, to smile back and take his hand and walk away from this. But there is my demon, on its pretty purple leash, barking and growling and not letting him close. It will not go away.
Sometimes, I get angry. I find it, curled up on its favorite spot, the pillow next to mine. I snatch it up by the scruff of its neck, and shake it, and scream at it, and throw it outside and slam the door in its face. But like any good house pet, the next morning when I wake, there it is, sitting on the front porch of my consciousness.
I sit here, deep in my own subconscious, and stare at my sleeping demon. I wonder what to do with it. Can I live with it always locked away? Do I trust it enough to let it loose, when I know who its father is? I know I need a strong man, one who makes me feel safe and protected. I know I feel safe with wheelers, and I cringe away from why. I also wonder… will I feel protected with one? I cannot answer these questions, and I grow tired trying. Most days, I trust that my demon is Compassion’s child. But today, I can’t forget its other parent, there in the shadows. My demon isn’t always a pretty thing. And I call it “Devotee”.