Natural Causes

Was first published on DoubleTake Magazine, Winter 1997 – later in the Internet on Peter Feibleman, from Past to Present /FictionWriter.com, by Peter Feibleman.

In 1916 a clitoridectomy was performed on my mother, at age five, to stop her from masturbating. The surgery was done at the request of her mother, not in Africa but in a fashionable area of Manhattan where she was born, at the office of a distinguished gynecologist whose fees were consonant with his fame; I first found about it in 1944 when I was fourteen, from my father, who explained it to me in detail as the reason for her wanting a divorce. Teenagers are more curious than considerate, and I went straight to my mother to find out if it was true. I remember that day better than most days because it was the first time I’d ever seen my mother cry. She confirmed the mutilation, denied that it was the reason for the divorce, and added that we would not discuss the matter again … (full long text).

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