Prose Header

Castration Doesn’t Hurt

by Marina J. Neary

Conclusion: The Last Dance of the Gaelic Swan

The lights on the operating table turned into theatrical headlights. I saw a flock of girls in green velvet dresses pass before my eyes. They were twirling to the sounds of electronic flutes. Dancing between them was a tall skinny man, who looked just like me from the neck down. The face was not mine. It belonged to Brandon Donovan, Siobhain’s ex-fiancé.

“Pass the sutures,” he said.

“Is the cast ready?” one of the dancing girls asked.

“It will stay on for six weeks.”

The lights went out. The music faded away. The dancing figures turned to shadows and dissolved. I was descending from a Celtic heaven back to the operating table.

I turned my head to one side and through the glass wall of the operating room I saw my wife and child. The door was cracked open wide enough for me to catch bits and pieces of the conversations in the hall. My vision was blurry from the anesthesia, but my hearing was still sharp. I heard Rinnie scolding Allen in a muffled voice.

“I’m sorry, Mommy...” he whined.

“You should be! Stupid boy... I told you to aim for his left foot. You crippled your father on the wrong side! Now he won’t be able to drive for six weeks. You know what that means? That means I’ll have to get up an hour early to get my makeup done and take him to work. You just robbed your mother of an extra hour of sleep. Thanks for nothing. Next time I need something, I’ll just ask the boy next door.”

I felt the lower half of my face melting, stretched into an idiotic grin, smearing across the pillow.

Replaying Allen’s exchange with Rinnie in front of our house earlier, I thought that it sounded a little too rehearsed. Allen did not look overly remorseful, and his mother did not look particularly angry or shocked. She basically took my child, who was supposed to be my key to redemption, and turned him into a tool of vengeance. I never called Rinnie on the carpet for that, because I wasn’t one hundred percent sure if I had heard her correctly. It could have been just anesthesia playing tricks on me. However, my intuition — whatever is left of it — tells me that Rinnie was not above pulling something like that. It made perfect sense.

First, she bullied me into marriage. Then, she tricked me into fatherhood. And finally, she crippled me into fidelity. All I could say was: “Wow, this chick must really love me!” And you know what the weirdest part is? I’m kind of starting to return the sentiment.

Copyright © 2011 by Marina J. Neary

Home Page