About A Boy

July 27, 2015

Please do not pray for me, promise me hope or eternal life, offer platitudes or pearls of wisdom. Don’t tell me if only you had known. Nothing will do today.

I have known for some time, after a long spell in therapy with a compassionate and skilled person, after dealing with PTSD—the childhood trauma version—I knew. And now I know.

The first time I heard PTSD applied to me, I remarked that I hadn’t been in a war. Yes you have, my therapist said: The War of the Baldwins. For which there were no medals for valor, no flags or songs, no nurses to care for and comfort you and attend to your invisible scars and the tickle monsters in your groin.

Peel off my skin. There I am a commercial for Band-Aids. There is gauze and salve and unguent and sear and needle stick and pus and corruption—there.

There were casualties. My mother was murdered. So engrossed in the war was she, she forgot to look left and right. So engrossed in the war was I, I accepted embraces where I could get them.

I was raped when I was thirteen.

Rapists are great listeners. Comforters. Confession receivers. Concessionists.

The rapist is dead. The gift he gave me is eternal. It comes with a guarantee for life. Sadly, I have several women friends who were raped. Rape, like guns, is all-American.

The hollowness I feel, is like . . . is as . . .

Oddly, I am sleeping—odd for me. Most of the weekend. Nine hours last night. An hour this morning. Through movies, sporting events. On the floor. In the car. With no dreams.

The small stands in for the large. A house is a battlefield. A boy is all the victims of Pinochet and Pol Pot and Boko Haram.

Details are not forthcoming. The rapist is not in hell. The rapist is.

I am many things. I am not ashamed.

I was raped when I was thirteen.

“Can you forgive me?”

I said, to the mirror.



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One Response to About A Boy

  1. Em Miller says:

    (please don’t let this post go public?)

    If I asked you whether you’ve lived your life or acted your way through it – would you understand what I meant?

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