Once upon a time, a woman longed to have a baby girl to fill her home with flowers and pretty things, to provide the softness she did not see in her four sons.
She prayed in the way she had been taught, followed the rules her scriptures dictated, till her god looked upon her, pitied her, and gave her a daughter.
She did not know that a cruel joke had been played on her.
Her daughter grew up strong and boisterous, surrounded by rowdy brothers. She climbed trees and kept frogs as pets, rough-housed with her brothers and only slept when she knew her favorite toy car was cleaned and parked beside her bed.
Then something happened to her. A deep voice in the night, the forceful arms of older stronger muscles, a tearing pain, threats, violence… violence.
Violence was born. Her mother did not know that a cruel joke had been played on her.
Violence was nurtured, lovingly and in secret, for who dares to spread the shame to scorning faces, jeering tones? Violence grew strong, its thorns tearing, leaving long lines of scarred flesh that never really healed.
Eventually it reached out of her body, spreading little tendrils that ensnared one brother, trapping him and holding him down till its seeds had taken proper root. And thus it spread itself to each child, who held it and treasured it.
Bodies bleeding out, smoke billowing to the skies. Cries, terror, the horror of death etched so deeply by flying debris.
They say she started it, that the faithful prophetess told them this was necessary in order to put the World right, that’s what Violence had said.
That is why her mother sits there, her vacant eyes searching for the punch line, a search that will not find its answer in her sorrow or the tears she stopped shedding years ago.
Tell her the joke when you point at her and laugh.