Some of the strands I mentioned recent posts have started to come together in other ways.

This idea that my hurt needed to be concealed and that it might cause other people to hurt me more, meant that the entire segment part of my life in which I was being hurt had to be concealed also. It couldn’t be known. Nothing about Nata could be known, or the girls, or the bits of life I shared with them.

It hurts doubly because they were good. Nata was wonderful. The girls were good too. Not perfect, but good.

I can’t talk about them or even reveal that I know them.

I don’t really know what I’m doing these days. There was all this talk about integration. I had that one way too turned-up day when I felt a Ruthie sense very much inside me—not pushing from outside, but inside. Then that just kind of disappeared, and I don’t know what came out of it.

And now there’s something with Charlie I can’t seem to get at. I can’t get the wall thin enough to understand what it is. There are these disconnected bits of ideas floating around in my head. I can connect them up, but I don’t know if I’m connecting them up in the right way. I don’t know if they are even completely the right ideas.

But they seem to revolve around an inability to be heard and a profound sense of invisibility, that he feels he is simply not allowed to exist. He exists with Nata—maybe—and then he goes back to the other world, and no one ever sees him. They never have. They don’t even see him.

I don’t know why he feels unseen. If people really don’t see him as a part of my personality, or if he cannot take in that they see him. I don’t know if he feels that way because there are certain ideas that he needs to have heard in particular, or if it is just his Charlie-ness, his internal landscape, that needs to be seen for him to stop feeling invisible.

And he can’t really tell me.

Lana keeps asking when we’ll remember more Russian. I do know some, but it’s not very much. I cannot construct a sentence, although I can in the National Language here. It makes sense I would forget quite a lot of Russian in the decades since, but it does seem that probably there is something more to be remembered. I was communicating quite complex things. I must have known a lot.

And I think this is because that sense is still there: this must be concealed. Russian must be concealed.

Anyway, I wonder if this is a part of it. I wonder if Charlie is somehow on the other side of dissociation from language altogether, and so his experience is entirely unspeakable.

He was trying to protect Nata, and he has the feelings about that. He has the sensory memories of that. He didn’t know what to make of them at all. He didn’t have his motives. He didn’t have any words. And so he doesn’t have words now. I don’t know.

I do know that what is core for Charlie is a desire to protect. It’s not aggressive. He’s not angry. It’s a defensive kind of protection. It’s a wish to be a wall around someone he loves. This wasn’t apparent to him, because the things he has to do to protect Nata do not on the surface seem protective. He has to rape her. A few times, he has to do this in extremely brutal ways. It does not seem immediately obvious that doing this gently and carefully would be a protective act, nor does it seem obvious that the emotional state most strongly felt in doing so would be a wish to keep her safe. But that is his bit of things. He wants to keep Nata safe in a way that he can feel in his whole body.

Ruthie has had a hard time with bedtime again. She’s very frightened—a lot of memories and emotions from being trafficked when I was very young are surfacing. But last night she says, “I not scared. Charlie take care me. He not let anything happen me.” She has in mind this warm, safe wall that she can be safe inside of.

Because Charlie wants to keep his sisters safe too. He has the same protective feelings about all of the little parts that he has about Nata, as though they were not part of him but separate people. He sees their innocence and their humanity and he sees the wrongness of what has been done to them and the pain they are in because of it, and he wants to hold them and keep them safe too—just like he held Nata. He wants to keep me safe too.

The frustrating part for him is that he can’t. It’s too late to prevent the pain of the past from happening and, since then, I haven’t always listened to him. I don’t always let him erect that warm, safe wall around me.