TWO PEOPLE HAD THE SAME EXPERIENCE. It was the experience of the voice freedom; it was the experience of the voice of God. For this, they were arrested. For this, they were detained against their wills and tortured. Together—and yet sequestered in terrifying isolation—they disappeared from ordinary existence. From routines and habits. From friends and family… from everyday sight.
Two people. Named Shlomo and Rivka. Two people. Named Juan and Maria. Two people. Named Amal and Nuha. Like Eve, life’s mother. Like Adam, God’s man.
One of them succumbed to pain and indignities. He died with the stammering bruise of a mystery on his lips. He died discolored and swollen.
The other, she said, “Yes. Yes, I understand now. Before was a critical error in judgment when I was under a foreign influence. It was a kind of disease, an emotional disorder, a sort of shared hallucination. That is what I would call it: a shared hallucination. Such things are unusual, immoral, but they happen. It’s pathetic and needs to be corrected. Honestly, I needed help; I was quite desperate. The authorities were absolutely right in intervening. Intervention was responsible. To the State. To the People. And… A hesitation. A lingering, uneasy silence, with shallow, rapid breathing. The suppressed, subtle scars of trauma. Then: I am grateful. I can now return to normal, productive life. Today, I am again a valuable citizen.
Later, the survivor walked away from the anus of Satan on her discolored and swollen legs, with the pain and indignity of serial violation aching between her thighs. No longer a woman. A body. A soul. And… To a neighbor she confided: I loved Juan; I loved my Shlomo; loved my Amal (Amal the Arab); but I will never, never be able to forgive him. I tell you, privately, in a secret confession, the stone of a whisper, I feel betrayed.
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Breaking into the Boarding School Infirmary:
by Matthew Dexter
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