When Charlie smells Natashka’s shampoo, he gets butterflies in his stomach.

Annoushka is trying to understand something similar. She knows she has the memories of the emotions in her body that have to do with sex. She doesn’t have words for them, but she knows she needs to find them. She knows she needs to begin to untangle her feelings and give words to them so that the younger parts can start to understand what happened later.

For the younger parts, sex acts are horrible. They are scary and disgusting and unwanted. They do have a physical response in their bodies in some situations that you might call pleasure, but they don’t like that feeling either. It is one more dreadful thing that is done to them against their will.

And so it is hard for them to really grasp how it is that I started wanting to do the same things we were also forced to do. They get the idea of choice—that choice makes all the difference—but they don’t get how I ever could have started choosing it.

So far, they have been told that things are different when you are big. They have been satisfied with the explanation. But that’s not enough. The parts need to be knitted together, which means they need to understand one another’s experiences in a coherent way. It can’t remain something mysterious that happens when you are older just because you are older.

Annoushka has been pondering this. And it finally come to her that being near Natashka is much the way Charlie describes the smell of her, only Annoushka says it in a different way.

It is like riding in an elevator and stopping at every floor.

It is a kind of “whoosh” feeling. That feeling is there in what I chose to do and it is there in what I didn’t choose. It doesn’t get turned off when I don’t want to do what I’m doing: it just gets added to the confusing mix of feelings. But it is only there with Natashka and not with anyone else.

It isn’t inherently a part of sex. It seems to lead to it, but it doesn’t have to: it is more like a magnet. You find yourself wanting to be close, to touch, to be more and more intimate, and the closer you get the more the whoosh feeling intensifies. But it isn’t the same as a sexual response and it is independent of sexual stimulation.

She has something to tell them now. Some way to help them make sense of what happened next.

She got “whooshy.” And that’s why things happened the way they did.

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