Am I a Good Girl Yet? -...
High-pitched screams explode into the air, unrelenting, shot through with blind terror. A wounded animal? A torture chamber?
A calm voice interrupts the heart-chilling cries, reassuring my reluctant, listening ears that the victim is in a safe place. But her fearful trauma haunts me, echoing in every straining sinew of my mind.
I switch the tape off and lean back on the cushions of the over-stuffed armchair to better ponder what I have just heard. Those screams belonged to a small child just a child
mercilessly gripped in the vice of uncontrollable and devastating fear. What atrocity would have caused such a violent outburst? What unmentionable evil warped her budding innocence? Can I bear to hear more?
Trembling, I stretch over and turn the tape on again, pushing the limits of my endurance to listen to more of this nerve-wringing tirade. I lean forward, muscles tense, temples throbbing, mouth dry. At last the screams fade to a whimper, as a steady male voice soothes the young victim. His words unruffled, constant. Her small, high whine gradually lulls to a moan, pathetic and painful. Weary wails struggle, exhausted, from the tape player on the coffee table in front of me: No moreno more No, no more. Silence.
He continues his balm of words: You are just remembering, just remembering; Im here. You are safe now. That was all a long time ago. Its all just a memory. No one is going to hurt you anymore. No-one. Youre safe now.
My unconscious sigh of relief jolts me back to the present and once again I stoop to switch off the tape, my shaking spirit daring my mind to consider the ghastly implications of what I have just heard.
Will that child ever be able to describe what she has seen? Will she ever be allowed to express what was done to her? Will she ever be able to feel joy, freedom?
And who is that child?
I struggle intensely with that last question, horribly aware that I know the answer, though even yet desperately clinging onto the breaking branch of my unbelief. I know her well oh, how well I know her! I have heard her screams often.
That child is me