Thursday, November 11, 2010

The man in the middle east

I posted this the other day and then removed it because it freaked me out.  I've decided I'm going to post it again even if it makes people think I'm abhorrent.  I've edited and added to it.

This is my blog.  I started this blog for me and I shouldn't worry about what other people think about it. 

I've very nervous about making this public. I've only talked about it in therapy once and it was extremely hard for me to even tell my therapist.  It's something I can't stop thinking about, so I wrote about it.  This is the worst thing I've ever done in my life.  It's horrible and it's graphic...and it's RAW.

Read at your own risk.

I lived in the middle east for a while with my mother, my stepfather, and my siblings.  We lived in a house behind a row of little shops.  There were a few tailors because most clothing was handmade or at least everyone went to a tailor quite often.  There were a few restaurants, and places that sold produce.  There was a place that had chickens roasting and turning in a window.  There was a toy store across the street.  My brother and I used to sneak over there and secretly play with the toys until we got kicked out.  Once our stepfather bought us a couple of those giant balls with handles that you could sit and bounce on.  We would race around the neighborhood on those things.  I always let him win because it mattered more to him.  I was just happy to feel the wind brush past my skin.  I loved that feeling of being air-born.  I loved feeling like I could fly, even if it was just for brief moments. 

There was also a small convenience store about two doors down from our front door.  We loved this store because it had American snacks and sodas.  We could go get a sprite and some Cheetos and feel like we were home for a moment, a very unhealthy, cheesy moment, but it was something familiar.  Something we longed for.  Something Western.  The store was run by two Arabian brothers.  I'm not sure how old they were but I'm going to guess probably in their late twenties or early thirties.  They were nice to us.  They both knew a little bit of English.  My brother and I would go in there to chat with them everyday because they were the only people we knew that understood English.  They would tell us jokes and sometimes give us free candy.  My brother and I loved being with them.  They were our friends. 

My mother was addicted to Dr. Pepper.  She drank so much of that stuff I think she could probably have built us a house and some furniture out of the used cans.  She had run out of her beloved soda, so she sent her seven-year-old over to the store, two doors down, to get her some more.  I had never gone by myself before but I was excited to see my friends who worked there.  I skipped my way down the dirt road a couple feet and walked into the store.  Only one of the brothers was there.  I said hi to him and went and grabbed some soda for my mother.  I brought the cans over to the counter to pay for them when he offered me a free Jolly-Rancher-like mango flavored Arabic candy.  This was my favorite.  I gladly accepted.  He asked me if he could have a hug and I obliged, but his hug lasted a very long time and was not what I was expecting or what I wanted.  It was not innocent.  He groped me and touched me inappropriately.  I got scared and ran back home, leaving the soda on the counter.

When I opened the door my mother was furious that I forgot her Dr. Pepper and she began to yell at me.  Terrified that she would beat me, I told her what happened.  She made me go sit in my closet and wait while she called my stepfather.  I was in my closet in the dark so long that I fell asleep.  I woke up to my stepfather saying that we had to go.  Only my step dad and I got in the car which made me nervous because my stepfather is a very unpredictable man.  Was I in trouble?  He seemed tense, but not angry.  He did not seem upset so I relaxed and gathered enough courage to ask where we were going.  "I'm going to show you what happens to people who do bad things here.  I want you to watch closely because this happens to bad little girls too."  I was scared.  I remained quiet and very still for the rest of the ride.  It felt like an eternity.  "I'm going to jail," is all I kept thinking.  My mother often threatened to have the police put me in jail, so I thought this time it was finally going to happen.

We finally arrived at the middle eastern country's police station and pulled into a dirt parking lot.  For some reason most of the roads in country at this time were not paved, at least not where we were.  We walked into a very large open space.  It looked like an over sized garage or maybe a warehouse.  Was this the police station?  Where are all the police?  There were two police officers standing beside the man from the store.  The man was wearing nothing but a pair of shorts.  This was extremely unusual for Arabic culture and I knew something was about to happen.  My body began to tremble and shake.  I felt cold all of a sudden.  It was extremely hot outside and it was even hotter inside.  There were a few large fans sitting in windows, blowing in air from outside to cool the room down.  The police officers told me to sit on a pile of cushions in the middle of the room, facing them.

What happened next will stay with me for the rest of my life.  I can't forget it.  I think about it almost every day.  I dream about it almost every night.  What happened next changed my life forever.  It is proof of what a horrible soul I truly have.  What an abominable human being I have been since the beginning.

The police officers both had large wooden poles.  I am not sure if they were bamboo or some other kind of wood.  They looked like bamboo.  They were longer than I was tall.  The officers smiled at me, and one knelt down beside me and explained to me in English that it was up to me to decide when they stop.  All I have to do is say stop and they will.  That's all he said.  He didn't tell me what they were about to do or why they were doing it.  They walked back over to the man from the store and began to beat him with these sticks.  The sound was something I cannot describe but I also cannot forget it.  There was a whistling-whooshing sound followed by a crunching sound when the wood hit his skin.  Sometimes the wood would break when they hit him but the officers just got new ones.  An angry red welt appeared wherever the poles touched his body.  They hit him all over.  His face, his hands, his legs, his back, his chest.  No part of his body was spared.

They beat him and beat him and I watched.  I said nothing.  The man from the store was screaming.  He was making sounds I have never heard anyone make before or since.  They didn't sound human.  He was crying.  I had never seen an adult man cry before.  He was crying and pleading.  I remember thinking that he didn't look like a man anymore.  He looked like a scared little boy.  He was begging in Arabic and English for them to stop, for me to stop them.  But I didn't.  I did nothing.  I put my head in my lap and I did nothing.  My stepfather kept lifting me back up and telling me to watch.  I just let them beat this man for what seemed like hours.  The police officers and my step father were laughing and talking to each other in Arabic.  I just watched.  I just watched this man be brutalized and I could have stopped it.  I could have stopped his pain but I didn't.  Why didn't I stop it?  I want to go back and stop it.  I want to go back and help him.  I want to stop it before it started.

I don't know how long the whole thing lasted, but they didn't stop until he was unconscious.  The officers were covered in blood.  The man from the store did not look like a human being anymore.  He was silently laying on the floor--his face was red, fat, and bloody.  He was covered in blood.  Blood was EVERYWHERE--On the man, on the floor, on the officers, on the walls.

When it was over, I was sitting with my head in my lap and the man was unconscious on the floor.  The officers and my stepfather were chatting in Arabic but their mood was light.  My stepfather told me he was proud of me for not stopping them.  He said he knew I was tough.  I just sat there until my stepfather said it was time to go.  When I stood up, I realized I had wet myself but I couldn't remember doing it.  My dress and the cushions were soaked in my urine.  I said nothing as I walked back to the car.  My legs felt like rubber bands.  I was afraid I might fall or slip as I followed my step dad back to the car.  We had to pass the man from the store on the way out.  I couldn't look at him but I could see him from the corner of my eye.  I wondered if he was dead until I heard the officers tell him to get up. In the car my stepfather's demeanor changed.  He seemed angry.  He slapped me and called me a whore.  He told me next time it would be me that got the beating and my stepfather would get to say when they would stop but he would be cruel like I was.  He wouldn't make them stop for me like I didn't make them stop for him.

I am a horribly cruel human being, right down to my core.  There is something wrong with my soul.  What kind of person could sit there and watch a man being beaten so badly, knowing they could stop it and do NOTHING?  I did nothing.  I sat there and listened to this man scream, cry, and beg them to stop.  He was in agony.  He was being tortured.  He was begging ME and I just listened.  I let them beat this man--my friend for an excruciatingly long time.  I let them beat my friend for something really minor.  What he did was wrong, yes, but he did not deserve that.  

When we got home, everyone wanted to know about my experience and everyone was congratulating me.  I didn't feel like celebrating.  I wanted to cry but I couldn't cry in front of them.  I just went into my room, changed out of my wet dress, and held my pet bunny.  I told my bunny that I was sorry.  I said it over and over again.  "I'm sorry. I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry."  My bunny just listened and wiggled his little pink nose.  I cried until I was asleep and then I cried in my sleep.  I never saw the man from the store again.  He never went back to work in the store and I never went back to the store either.  I don't know what happened to him.  I don't know if he was/is okay.  I don't even know if he even survived!  No one ever talked to me about this again except for my mother when she wanted to point out how horrible I am.  She still brings it up in emails every  now and then.

I dream about this event and the man from the store almost every single night.  I wake up trembling, soaked in my own sweat.  Sometimes a certain sound--a whooshing, a breaking stick, someone shouting in Arabic, takes my brain back there.  I'm that little girl again, sitting on those cousins in the middle of this warehouse, wearing a long shiny yellow cotton dress and pink flip flops, watching a man plead for his life.  I just can't understand why I didn't do anything to help him.  I can't believe what a cruel little girl I was.  Maybe my mother is right and there is something evil and wrong inside of me.  I deserve every bad thing that ever happened to me.  Who could love a girl like that?  I am a monster.  Maybe I born without a soul.