Monsters have an impermanence to them. Their mythos evolves as we develop fears that better reflect our current sensibilities. Digging into them could leave us as cans tied to a just married getaway car. Frivolous spectacle decorating the pavement.
I recently (finally) pilgrimaged to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to visit the Mothman. In the 3 years I lived in WV I only discussed him once. An ex-friend was driving too fast on country backroads to avoid the paralyzed highway traffic. Maybe the Mothman would get us. Maybe we’d become friends again. Maybe I’d give in and date him, his transfer to another university nearby allowing me to become a reluctant girlfriend; normal.
Mythologizing myself & my love interests is a hobby of mine. Frankenstein-ing them into an amorphous blob that only I can recognize myself in. There I go again, mixing my monster references.
I bought a sticker at the Mothman Museum that states “MOTHMAN IS MY BOYFRIEND”. I have yet to stick it on anywhere. Like many others, I suffer from sticker permanence phobia. I bought this one specifically for my laptop, but it would be my first laptop sticker. Ever. Such a bold statement is not an appropriate cherry popper. The first is inevitably significant. Wouldn’t want to give Mothman that pressure. He’s already got so much going on with his threat level eternally uncertain and debated. It seems that the ones who are dead set on Mothman’sbenevolence are freaks and freak lovers. So what if what the Scarberrys and Mallettes saw fly over their car that night was just an owl? Meaning making is a human grasp towards something other. A tentative hand on a strangeand hurt being’s face.
I just wanna touch a monster. For the story, for the lols, for the myth of it all. Force a new legend. I’m terrified of running out of ones to read. Maybe mine won’t be a lessonfor scaring future little girls. Even if it is, some of them will refuse to learn it. Follow in my footsteps. The daughters I’ll never have. Nieces I’ll never meet. Sisters waiting for a call back. Let me anticipate their own mythologization. Perhaps if their stories predate their birth they can latch on to plausible deniability. In the end it all becomes lawyer speak. When we break apart the myth one too many times they become ‘actually’ this and ‘technically’ that. Just what we need, another pedantic monster we can’t help but love.
Does Mothman have friends? His fuckability has been memefied to the ground, but who is responding to his texts when potential lovers recoil at him asking for more? Who is recording these new myths? I don’t think he has friends. His circumstance is too familiar to me. Once your mythos has been solidified it’s hard to imagine a different world. Everyone wants to take selfies at your statue, buy merch from your museum. Drink up the frivolity. No one is afraid of the Mothman anymore because they’ve stopped asking about him.
Let me create a new entry then:
Laura Andrea: Where did you disappear to after the bridge collapse?
Mothman: I didn’t. Just went on several journeys of self-discovery in other countries.
LA: So, tourism?
MM: I guess you could call it that. It’s about being immersed in the culture.
LA: Wow, guess you really are a monster.
MM: Of course you would think that.
LA: I was half joking.
LA: You came back. Why?
MM: My things are here. I do have things. It’s new, me having things, and I’m quite fond of it. Leaving them to rust was an anxiety I wasn’t equipped to deal with.
LA: What’s your new favorite thing?
MM: My pressure cooker. I won’t divulge more details about my diet.
LA: That will lead to speculation.
MM: I’m fond of soups.
LA: Why haven’t you invited me over for dinner? You’ve cooked in my kitchen several times.
MM: It’s far.
LA: Physically it’s the same distance.
MM: Guess it is.
LA: I’ve passed through your neighborhood before. Even played in it once. Found I fit in quite well.
MM: Until you didn’t.
LA: Until someone suggested how natural it was.
MM: That’s debatable.
LA: So is everything. Why did you run away so quickly that time? When someone suggested I loved you?
MM: It was late.
MM: I was tired.
LA: Do you love me?
MM: Not this version.
LA: This is the only version you’ve known though.
MM: I’ve seen this version before, in others.
LA: Is it because I’m starting to look like you?
MM: What is?
LA: So there’s a version of me you did love, once?
Laura Andrea is a writer from Carolina, Puerto Rico. They hold an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her work can be found in Pussy Magic, The Rio Grande Review, Acentos Review, and Brave Voices Magazine, among others. She’s always looking for a good park to read, write, and divinate in. You can follow their day to day on Instagram & Twitter @lauranlora