“I sit there staring into the distance, crying, balling, gasping, and short of breath. I can’t fill my lungs. I might suffocate, and I might welcome that. I’m completely defeated. I have nothing to live for, but I lack the courage to kill myself. My father beats me whenever he is in the mood, and I’m an easy target for bullies. That’s how I was everytime I wanted to run away but didn’t have the guts or everytime I stopped eating for days but nobody even noticed or everytime he gave me a black eye. I mean, he put my sister’s head through a fucking mirror one time, and he told us that if we ever called the authorities on him, they would take us away and put us with people who would molest us. What the fuck did I know? I was just an abused child. I believed what I was told. I would rather be with someone who beats me than someone who rapes me. I wish I could go back in time. I wouldn’t love him anymore. He never really loved me anyway. I would do things much differently. I would go back to when I was a child, and I would change everything. I would take his power away, every chance I got.”

“What moment would you start at? What would you do differently?” she asked.

“I might go back to the moment when my sister called the police on him so she could get her clothes. She had moved out, and he wouldn’t let her have her own clothes. I would tell her that she is brave, and I’m proud of her, instead of being ashamed and angry that she left. I might go back to the moment when he called the police on my mom because he was annoyed with her. I had come home thinking he had killed her, seeing police cars in the driveway. The cops asked me if he ever hit us or my mom. I lied for him, even though I thought my own mother might be dead. No, I think I would go back to the time he called the police on me. He told them I was on drugs, even though he knew I wasn’t. It was one of the few times I tried to stand up for myself. The fucking floor was dirty, and I said that I didn’t do it, but I would clean it up. He wanted me to admit that it was me and clean it up. I just left, for hours and hours. He was doing that weird thing he would do when he was stressed out. He would tense up his shoulders and start pulling at the back of his pants. I didn’t want to get another beating, so I left, but I wasn’t about to admit to something I didn’t do, and that’s why he called the police on me. He wanted to make sure he always had absolute control over me. That’s the moment I would go back to. I would change everything.

“Close your eyes, breathe deeply, imagine you are there, and tell me what you see,” she instructed.

I start to hear the dull sounds of a machine.

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