The Devil Wears Polka-Dots

By Ivory Alexander

The Devil Wears  Polka-Dots

Ivory Alexander, Contributor

He was the creature she didn’t tell her therapist about. He was her little secret, wrapped in a pretty bow and tucked away safely in the back of her mind. She kept him close to her heart, where he clawed and kicked and screamed. He wanted out, but she couldn’t let him out.

He was her only friend.

She was raised in the words of the Lord and under her mother’s suffocating gaze. She praised a stranger’s name, a man clad in white. She was born of the devil and an angel, an unholy union the women in church loved to gossip about. S

She was unwanted on both sides of her family, a concept she accepted from before she was even in diapers. They gave her gifts though, in the form of bruises and scars and ugly markings. She still has them too – she shows them to her only friend, who hides in her breast and whispers foul things to her as she sleeps.

She was an empty shell, neither good nor evil, and he knew that. He saw the blank, hollow look in her eyes that her mother shied away from every single day and embraced her. He saw the empty match boxes and gave her more to play with, her friend clad in Polka dots.

She saw him one day, in the pews of her grandfather’s church. He sat there, his face as white as snow and his head covered with a red cloud. It appeared that no one else could see him except for her, but she caught a pinch and hiss from her mother for staring too long.

He looked at her from across the room, his grin almost splitting his face in two. He held a single finger to his blood-red lips, and she copied the gesture. She would get dragged to the bathroom by the ear while her mother screamed the curses of God under her breath.

She met him again while she was in jail, her mother’s prayers falling on deaf ears. Her hands were as red as his big, round nose now. Her clean, white shirt was dirtied with her grandfather’s life force, spilled by anger and hatred and indifference. Her only friend had heard her grandfather’s screams, and he congratulated her.

“That was splendid! A job well done for offering God’s bootlicker! I wish you were a little less messy though!”

He was the only one by her side for so many years. When her mother left the station that day, after cursing her missing soul and crying crocodile tears, she never saw her again. Perhaps she was scared for her life after witnessing such an awful event…or, maybe she just didn’t care for her anymore. It didn’t matter. She had a new friend now.

He made her laugh, something she had never really done. It was a foreign concept, laughter. She never laughed when her grandfather hit her with a switch every day. She never laughed when her mother almost drowned her to cleanse her of her sins. But, she was laughing now, and it was the strangest thing in the world besides smiling.

Even now, as she sits in an alleyway with strangers, her friend still stays, but against his will. He tried to leave her…he said that she was boring now, that she had lost her spark. She didn’t lose anything, she just was…empty.

But she’ll get him to stay, he won’t leave her like her mother did. He calls her a lot of rude and foul names, but occasionally, she’ll hear the laughter of children in her head, but maybe it was the voices in her head that replaced her one, true friend in Polka dots.