The last two nights, I had nightmares just as I was falling asleep. This has happened before, but not recently. They are the same kinds of nightmares, but last night they came a bit clearer.

There was a sense of being covered in blackness, and I shouted no and something like, “Don’t hurt her.”

In the morning, I start to understand what it was.

It was Stecia’s murder I remembered earlier in the week—not Homeida’s—and what I was having nightmares about is what I wanted to do. I was hiding under the bed—that is the feeling of blackness, because it was dark under the bed—but I wanted to come out and save her from Yuri. I wanted to pound him with my tiny fists and make him stop.

Yesterday, I was processing how small and powerless I was and am. I am a small person. I move through the world carrying a sense of smallness with me, or I would if I had a sense of my body. Here in Country X, I get to be tall, but I am still lighter than many people, including a lot of the students in Classes 7 and 8.

So that’s part of the memories I have, and it’s a part of the memories that connects to the present: I was small. I am small. If I can’t process the sense of being small and powerless in the world, I will be perpetually triggered by it.

It’s an important part of the memory, because it was the reason Stecia told me to hide under the bed and it was the reason complete obedience in that situation was so important. If Yuri had known I was there, he might have killed me also. There were many things he didn’t do because I had to go home again, but he might not have worried too much about murdering me.

But obedience was terribly difficult. I wanted so much to help Stecia. Internally, I was crying out for him to stop. I was enraged that he was hurting her. It isn’t nice to hurt people and you aren’t allowed to do it, only Yuri didn’t follow any rules. I wanted to hit him and I wanted to hug her and make her safe. The feelings were so very strong, but I had to control them. I couldn’t let them make me act. I had to remember she told me to hide, and stay hidden and silent. I did, and I lived. I am left, however, with the memory of what I wished I could do.

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