“What is the story of Frankenstein?” My daughter asked over her breakfast cereal one day. She was still too young for the books or movies. It was October 30, however, and the elementary had been decorating her classroom wing with cutouts of ghosts and false-Draculas, fake spider webs, and the other cheap Halloween things.
“He wanted to create something better than himself,” I responded. “But after its creation, he realized he couldn’t love it. So the creature became a monster.” I looked at the menthol poking out between my fingers on the kitchen table. Its tip tapped the table rhythmically in my anxious hand. “Your mother is picking you up from school today; you’re spending the weekend with her. Are you packed?”
She nodded, and I wondered what I could have done to deserve someone so much better than myself. “So Frankenstein was the man, not the monster?” Milk bled from the sides of her mouth, down her chin. I felt not love toward her, my flesh, but anger.
“Yes,” I responded, with the kind of uncertainty that fills a room. “But don’t believe that men cannot be monsters.”
Kelsey Styles is a communications and creative writing double major at Widener University in Pennsylvania. Her hobbies-- other than writing-- include cats and costume-making.