What He Never Had

I thought that he’d had a charmed life. That’s how it appeared to me, from the outside. I especially considered this when I intended to have a baby with The Collector. I saw a youth who’d had the best of everything–things I could never have imagined as a child, or even as an adult. He’d had the best education money can buy, and two brilliant and naturally gifted parents in a traditional nuclear household. I imagined a household full of music, trips to the symphony and the children’s opera, and visits to the parks and all the family exhibits at the greatest museums in New York and several cities in Europe. Parents who indulged and encouraged his curiosities and fascinations, and introduced him to new ones. The extracurricular activities and school sports he cared to pursue (but which he was never pressured to precipitate in). College was a given, and the money to pay for it was a given.

What I didn’t see was a didn’t see was a dead mother, a stepmother who was gone half the time touring for her artistic profession, and a father who was gone more than half the time on business. He said that it was because he was making money to support the family, but the truth was that they had been born into wealth and nobody had to work a day in their lives.

When I bent over him and worked over his seated, trembling body with a very course exfoliating mitten, really putting my arm into it, I saw something else: nobody had touched him in his life.

Most certainly no woman.

The wet eyes and the dumb animal gratitude. He was soaked, so I couldn’t tell if he was crying or not.

I felt pity, and a desire to give him what he never had.

In time, the Collector twisted that. I can’t blame it all on him. After all, he couldn’t have done it without me.