It all just feels incredibly raw today. After the alarm went off, I lay on my back for a minute, still just pondering the idea of waking up. I had had a dream about cleaning my house, only it wasn’t really a house. It was more like an enormous warehouse, and other people could come tramping through as they pleased. So I wanted to clean it, but I also knew other people would make it dirty again.

It was a dream about parts. I keep trying to keep my mind organized, but the parts are there, wandering through as they please, and they keep introducing new thoughts and emotions that make it disorderly again. I can never keep my mind tidy.

So I was lying there, sort of trying to let the night settle in my mind again, and because I was on my back, I suppose, the sense of Natalya lying over me came to me very strongly. And I remembered in this almost hallucinatory, vivid way her eyes looking into mine—their beautiful, brilliant blueness and their thick fringe of dark lashes.

I had the impression too of straight black hair sliding down from around her shoulders, of bangs cut straight across. And so I know she is quite young still. There was a point when she started dying her hair blonde and curling it or getting perms, and once she started dying it, I don’t think it was ever black again. Because of that, I have in my mind sort of two mental images of Natalya: a young one with straight black hair she doesn’t do anything to except wash and an older one with shorter, blonde hair that is sometimes curly or wavy and other times just layered.

And this one is the younger one. I don’t remember when she first began to dye it: I think she might have been 14 or just turning 15. By the time she was pregnant with Veroushka, it was blonde though.

I think perhaps it happened this way because there was, for a while, an interest in keeping her young-looking. She was small and delicate and physically not very developed and there was a pedophile angle that could be used to economic advantage as long as she didn’t start doing other things that made her look older. Because of that, she wasn’t encouraged—or maybe not allowed to—wear a lot of heavy make-up or style her hair in certain ways.

Of course, when she did develop, then that wasn’t the angle anymore, and the point was for her to look as sexy as possible in a completely adult way. And that’s when she started dying her hair.

So I have in my mind this image that has to do with her hair and her age. If she was lying on me with straight, black hair, then she is under 15. She isn’t pregnant yet, and we are not lovers. And I am only 10.

But something has happened. It seems to me we had been playing in the bed—she was probably tickling me—and we have ended up like that more or less by accident. But something has happened. There was most definitely a spark between us.

She touched my hair and kissed me on the mouth—as she often did, it’s not sexual at all. And got up. But something happened between us. We weren’t just children playing anymore.

It makes me realize the feelings were developing between us for a long time before that afternoon when she sat on my lap and kissed me for the first time.

And it all just feels incredibly raw and painful. Maybe because she didn’t push anything at that point. She could have. I was conditioned to do whatever was asked of me. She could have very easily. But something happened—I didn’t understand what it was, but she probably did—and she got up.

I was 10 years old, and she was tender with me, she was loving. But, in her way, she said no. No, we aren’t going to do this. We did not do anything for more than a year. She could do anything she wanted, and that’s what she chose to do.