I was born on a Monday and died on Friday.
They cut me from my mother’s womb, the appetent progeny, one full of desire and eager for the world’s delights. For nine months I took form in her belly, the one who bore me, and for nine months my senses developed to the whims of my mother… I ate what she ate, drank what she drank, I learned what she loved and despised, and I too came to love and despise those things. Before I was six months old, I knew what lavender was, and gin and oil and semen, and these things made my tiny body coil with revulsion, and I knew also fresh bread, red wine and antiseptic, and perceived the pleasure in them too. Delight and loathing, I knew them in my tiny bones before my throat had uttered its first cry.
I came into this world with the murderous scream of the living. Contained in those first guttural cries were the pain I suffered in my conception, and the pain with which I would leave this earth too. All things were contained therein, my living and dying, my ecstasy and anguish, the still waters in which I was birthed and the raging torrent that would be my demise… therein, too, the loveless embrace of my mother and the absence of a father, and the sharpness of the air in my throat and impossible pain in my newly-opened eyes. How cruel was the colour white. Upon seeing the prison into which I had been born, I closed my eyes and continued screaming. The smell of antiseptic was my only comfort on that first day.
On the second day, my mother tried to feed me. I rejected her bitter tit. Cleaved from her body, I understood that there was no nourishment for me in her milk. I lay in her arms, the depth of her resentment clear from her touch. Her hatred for me grew. I tried to tell her I did not hate her, but all she heard were my indecipherable cries. She did not know how to speak to me. She did not know how to hear. I forgave her yet continued to wail, for my frail body craved sustenance. Wanting nothing to do with her acrid teets, they succumbed and fed me with a sweet nectar. I fell into the slumber of innocents.
On the third day, I was taken from the white walls of the prison to somewhere called ‘home’. I had known a home once so I was filled with distrust. My new home was filled with anguish, and still I didn’t have a father. I quickly learned to despise my new home. My mother taught me how. She swore and howled and filled me with venom, and when I met her with the same, she abandoned me for hours alone, with no company but the dirty rug on which I lay. My cries were to no avail. She denied me the sweet nectar and tried to force the bitter tit on me, and when I rejected her, she scorned me.
On the fourth day, I was alone.
All things know living and breathing. Dying is not known, nor can it be known. On my fifth day on this earth, I knew this and wept. My throat was cracked, my belly empty. I knew not love nor care, nor the soft touch of a mother, not warmth nor safety nor the joy of living. All these things I was denied. That is when I began to hear it, an ethereal acoustic, a faraway sound. It slithered into the bed where I lay, building slowly. My mother wrapped me in a black cloth, took me out and cast me away. I felt myself fall, once again in the embrace of the waters, this one not warm, lifegiving, but cold and torrential. But it didn’t matter, for now the music carried me and I sailed with it downriver, the music the surrogate of all the things I’d been denied, and I closed my eyes and ceased weeping, for I understood that I was going home.
‘Transfigurative Acoustics’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.