It perhaps is not only that. Maybe I’m also thinking no one imagined my jumble or thought about it. I just had to do things, with or without the jumble. No one cared enough to stop themselves from hurting me, and here I’m not thinking of Nata. I’m thinking of everyone else. I’m thinking of the men who abused me. They really did not care.

In the tape that rolls in my head, it’s not just pictures. It’s a set of intense emotions. I don’t know that those are really my feelings. They might be only “what ifs.” I don’t know one way or the other, but I have learned that my head is like that sometimes. I do “what ifs” too.

So, as the tape rolls, I imagine this intense desire to be close to C. I imagine that being shared by C, and I imagine what I would do about it then. I imagine the anguish about it. I imagine the way in which I would say no to the feeling and to her.

And I think I am doing this because no one ever said no to themselves—they never said no to me. I didn’t want what I had to pursue, but I was trained to pursue it anyway. I didn’t have the choice of considering my own feelings.

I think the tape is giving me an idea of how things might have been. The predators who bought access to me from others might have thought what it is like to be a child or a teenage girl and what it is like to have sexuality thrust upon you when you don’t understand it—not even when you don’t want it, but even when it is still overwhelmingly confusing to you. It’s not that difficult to think about. And they didn’t. They had no empathy for me whatsoever. They really and truly did not care.

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