Shuffling quietly, the youth slowly made his way to stand beside his mother. Looking up at her, he asked a question that had been nagging him for a while. “Mama, why at school do most of my classmates have daddies and I don’t?”
Placing the now clean dish into the drying rack, she sighed deeply as she quickly thought the best way to answer the boy. Delaying the inevitable she responded, “Honey, I thought you understood?”
“Understand what?” he queried.
Watching her youngest son from the corner of her compound eye as she grabbed another soapy dish, she continued, “Dear, some families are just different from others, and ours is one of them. You know how we pray a lot and I’ve told you that we’re praying for our sins?”
Nodding his head, he feigned understanding. All he ever prayed for was the disappearance of his annoying sisters.
“Well you see it’s not that easy being a mom…you have to do all sorts of things that are not necessarily the easiest or most fun. You must be responsible, cook, clean, kill and devour your husband, take care of your children…”
Jumping up, the young Praying Mantis suddenly screamed, “What! Mama wait!” Frantically clutching his mother’s arm he continued in a rush of words, “Go back! What do you mean?!”
“Sweetie, let go of my arm I need to keep washing.” Sighing once more she thought back a month or so ago, to the first and only night of her marriage to her husband. He’d said to her, looking so sweetly into her eyes, “My love, I wish to live with you for forever.” She’d thought then how naïve he was.
Pulled back into the present by a bouncing boy she said, “Well you see, my son, after yours and your sister’s conception, I was ferociously hungry…and he was the closest thing. I just couldn’t help myself!” Shaking her head sadly she added, “I was so very young and clumsy, it was a little messy I’m afraid.”
Blushing, she looked directly into her sons pale face as he stuttered out, “But mama!”
“Well, that’s exactly why I didn’t want to tell you”, she said as she dried her hands on her apron and walked around the boy, and reached for the broom behind the pantry closet. Leaning out the kitchen doorway into the living room she hollered, “Girls! Supper will be ready soon! Go wash up.”
Turning back towards the boy, she began sweeping the floor, “When you grow up Bobby, try to pick a good, experienced female to mate with. That way your death should be relatively quick and painless.”
“But I don’t want to be eaten!” he hollered with panic filled eyes.
Hearing his frantic voice, his nine sisters ran into the room like piranhas after a bloody chunk of meat. “Bobby’s gonna to get eaten! Bobby’s gonna to get eaten!”
“Shut up! You don’t know what we’re talking about!” he screamed at them.
“Mama, I didn’t want to tell you this way, but now seems like an excellent opportunity.” Swallowing loudly, he continued, “Mama, I don’t like girls.” Twisting to look at his sisters, he muttered under his breath, “Matter of fact, I hate girls.”
Looking back at his mother, who was clutching her hands together with a worried expression on her face, he continued, “I like boys, mama…I’m gay.”
“Don’t you see? I don’t have to die!” he shouted.
Grasping her only son to her hard plated exoskeleton chest, with tears of happiness running down her face she exclaimed, “Bobby, whatever makes you happy will make me happy. Thank you for telling me.” Looking him in the eye, “Now go run and wash up for supper.”
As Bobby scuttled off, she turned to her daughters who were in mid-chant, “Hush and get your plates down. Make sure and set the table properly this time!”
Reaching for the dustpan, her motions were stalled by a loud *crunch* coming from the next room. As Bobby’s mother ran towards the sound, she could be heard from miles away as she hollered, “Girls! Who invited Mrs. Widow over?”
I would like to give a special thanks to Rob for editing this story and for finding and fixing my grammatically incorrect errors.
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