Michael by Carla Manzoni

He knew, from a very young age, that he was truly special. He spent his entire sixth year studying human relationships and his seventh, animal anatomy. His eighth and ninth were committed to geology, his tenth to religion.

He spent his eleventh summer composing a symphony. No ordinary symphony, it was cross-dimensional, inspired by nature. He lay outside in the warm sun watching the way the yellow dandelion nodded, the indigo lupine swayed, the orange nasturtium climbed, and the creamy white butterflies flitted. He recorded it all, in a musical shorthand he had invented himself. It was perfect. Pure.

One day, he showed his mother the music he had written. He recognised that mothers were part of nature, and she might, through some evolutionary, genetic instinct, glimpse the patterns that he saw in the worldly works of creation.

Mother looked quizzically at the scratches and scribbles and marks in her son’s notebook. He looked up at her with such surety that she couldn’t tell him his scribbles were nonsense. She handed back the crumpled pages and patted his head. He allowed the patting though it felt contrary to his nature. Standing erect like a small monarch, he waited for the recognition of his genius to flow from her lips. He waited for the tears of admiration, the obeisance of her form bowing before his brilliance.

“That’s very nice, dear,” she said, “Now go wash your hands, you are as filthy as an earthworm!”

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Three years later, he looked down at his mother bowing before him, adoring, understanding. He wore a crown and beautiful red cloak for the occasion. He was finally receiving his due! Around him, the cellar smelled strongly of must and old water but nothing could spoil this moment.

“See, Mother?” he asked her, “I knew you would like my music! I am so happy you have discovered the key to understanding and enlightenment! Having your approval and appreciation is everything to me.”

The boy knew that monarchs should always be gracious and bestow their favours where they are deserved so he reached a white hand down to his mother’s head to bless her. He slid from her soft, brown ponytail, over her cheekbone that was still a bit damp from her temple sweat, and under her chin. He lifted her head up to gaze upon her worthy face and warm blood tears washed over his hand like a cleansing bath from the slit in her throat. Mothers always sacrifice for their children, he thought and cried a single tear in thanks. Then, he repositioned her for his crowning. He was, after all, a king now.

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