When Minnie was six years old, she wore her monster costume to her first day of school. Her mother had begged with her to take it off and wear the clothes she had laid out for her, to act like a nice, normal little girl who wore pink and white lace skirts and bows in her hair and collected My Little Ponies, but Minnie just sat in the front seat of the old red rusted station wagon with a calm, too solemn look on her face, waiting, until her mother finally gave in and drove her to school. She did not like lace skirts, or bows, and the acrid smell of the plastic ponies her mother was always buying her reminded her of the dentist. Minnie did not like the dentist; he was tall, with big broad shoulders and no neck, a too white too straight yet still unpleasant smile and an ugly bald spot, he smelled like burning plastic ponies and spearmint and Dettol, and he would curse at Minnie and call her ‘Little Monster’ for biting him when was pulling her teeth out. He was always pulling out Minnie’s little monster teeth.
At the gates of the primary school, Minnie’s mother leant across the gearbox to kiss her daughter goodbye. All the other children were walking up the steps hand in hand with a parent; most of them were mothers, but some of them were fathers. Minnie looked from them back at her mother, her big brown eyes asking “Are you coming too?” but her mother hurriedly tripped over an excuse about having to do a double shift, and patted Minnie on her purple furry head. “Go on now,” she said gently, “And please, please, be good Minnie.” But even at her tender age, Minnie knew as she got out of the car that what her mother had meant to say was “please please, be normal Minnie,”, and that these two things were not mutually exclusive. Still, she nodded to her mother, even flashed her a little smile, swung her Batman and Robin backpack onto one furry shoulder and made her way up those concrete steps to the schoolroom, a lone little monster swallowed by a sea of children and parents.
The day that she got her monster costume, Minnie’s mother had taken her to the costume shop to buy her a fairy dress for Halloween. Minnie had only agreed to go if her mother also bought her a Batman and Robin backpack. Her mother begrudgingly accepted Minnie’s demands, yet she could not help but to remind her that she should be playing with Barbie and not Batman. Minnie said that she liked Batman because he had special powers, and that he could do cool things with them. He could protect her from the bad men (“why were the villains always men?” she wondered later. Except for Catwoman, but Minnie liked her anyway). Minnie’s mother just smiled and said “Sweetheart, Barbie has superpowers too! She has the power of beauty. There is nothing more powerful in the world than being beautiful.”
“You’re beautiful mummy” Minnie replied, and Minnie’s mother beamed down at her daughter, full of pride for herself “Why don’t you use your powers to bring Daddy back?” This time, Minnie’s mother flinched, the pride drained from her face, and she pushed Minnie through the door into the costume shop with a little more force than she would have otherwise intended. “Because Daddy found someone else with stronger powers,” she said coldly.