Hannah was her mother's first and only child: the perfect creation Mary had always dreamed of, her major life achievement. Mary couldn't get enough of her new baby. The feedings in the first weeks enthralled her. Hannah's mouth around the aureola of her swollen breast, her lips ardently sucking as her tiny tongue cradled her nipple. And the cuddling. Every moment she could hold her precious child, she cooed loudly with the torrent of kisses she lavished on her. "Just me and my angel," she whispered. At three months, Hannah started making worrisome clicking sounds at each feeding. Doctor Morrison, who'd known Mary ever since she was a child, suspected the clicking might be Hannah's attempt to stop the deluge of milk from her mother. "It might be a good time to start weaning Hannah," he tactfully suggested. Mary dutifully complied, but it hurt her to see how easily Hannah adjusted to bottle feeding. And it wounded her to see how peaceful and contented Hannah was in the arms of her father.
When Hannah was five, her mother continued to shower her with hugs and kisses, when she left for school in the morning, came home in the late afternoon, and every night when she unfailingly insisted on putting her little girl to bed. Mary's kisses sometimes made Hannah dizzy and gasp for breath, but she learned to love them as much she loved her mother. Hannah also loved being with the other kids at school because the teachers were always too busy to single her out for attention.
Hannah's relationship with Mary changed dramatically during her first year in high school when she suffered a severe attack of psoriasis. Her face, arms, and elbows broke out in ugly patches of greyish Pink, scaly skin. She tried desperately to cover it with sweaters and long sleeved blouses, but the girls at school began snickering behind her back and started calling her elephant girl. Mary was at once horrified and relieved to discover she was needed again by her daughter. She plunged into a strident campaign to eradicate Hannah's psoriasis. Three dermatologists were consulted and meticulously questioned; corticosteroids administered to reduce the inflammation; retinoids to reduce the scales; ultraviolet light treatments to stimulate production of vitamin D; and expensive, specially enriched moisturizers applied three times a day.
Mary undertook all of this with the zeal of a medieval general fighting the crusades. Yet during the thrice daily moisturizing rituals, when Hannah looked into her mother's eyes as she applied the lotion, she saw mixed with her unbridled devotion, disgust at the sight of her daughter. Her whole caring, loving, frowning face couldn't hide Mary’s feeling that she'd given birth to a gargoyle. It was then that Hannah learned to look at her mother with a mixture of warmth and coldness, when she realized she could relieve Mary by giving in to her or make her anxious by being sullen or unappreciative. This knowledge filled Hannah with trepidation and a strange sense of wickedness, this power she now had over her mother; reinforced many years later when she found drawings Mary had made of her as she grew older, drawings that resembled a hackneyed collection of Barbie Dolls. She thought of Lindsey, the American Girl Doll her mother included ostensibly as an afterthought along with the other gifts – Material Girl Shorts, a Strapless Sweetheart Junior Dress and a Tommy Girl Junior Skirt — for her seventeenth birthday. But Hannah knew Lindsey was the real gift from her mother. Lindsey, Mattel's American Girl of the Year in 2001, unbelievably gorgeous, perpetually graceful, eager to please. Her mother's immutable fantasy.
The psoriasis cleared up in Hannah's junior year. By then, her skin had been transformed into a soft, dove-like sheen, almost magically it seemed to Hannah and her mother. She also developed full, pear shaped breasts that combined with her dazzling blond hair, long athletic thighs, and agile ass drove every boy who came near her to distraction. Hannah secretly delighted in her new found sexual power, but it scared her even more than her passive meanness to her mother. One day she took the train to Manhattan, snuck down to the Pink Pussycat in Greenwich Village and bought a big penis wand that with no small effort she managed to hide from Mary. She discovered an old Youtube video of an I'm Too Sexy commercial for Abercrombie and Fitch that she played at night on her iPad. As she masturbated, she could always depend on the lyrics… I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts… and I'm too sexy for Milan, too sexy for Milan, New York and Japan… accompanied by a succession of half naked, flawlessly proportioned Abercrombie men and women, to give her deep, convulsive orgasms. It was the one unassailable fantasy, more than equal to her mother's, that Hannah retreated to all through high school, her first year in college when she first let Don fuck her, and every time since.
Andre Moore, Director of Marriage Couples Counseling and Life Coaching in New York City
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