My dad was a murderer.

Yuri was a murderer. Maybe he was a different kind of murderer. But my dad was a murderer too.

I keep having nightmares. They have not diminished. They have gotten worse. I don’t know what I am dreaming, even. Just that I am afraid. I wake up too scared to think about what has happened or what I have seen.

I wake up shouting, “No, don’t hurt her.” And then I cry. I think I am dreaming about Ksymcia, that my dad is raping her in my dreams. But I don’t actually really know. And last night I began to dream about a room where the floor was covered in blood, and I was very frightened and wanted to run. Well, that has happened. I walked through a room with pools of blood all over the floor because someone had cut Laila’s body into pieces with a table saw. I don’t know if I was dreaming about the same room or a different room, if I am dreaming about something that happened or an extension of it, or if I am dreaming about the same thing happening again. It could have, actually. There could have been more than one body. That could have been Ksymcia’s body later, after she died also.

If it is a second memory, then I will eventually have to know that. I will have to remember it. But at the moment it seems that is not important. The important thing is the thought embedded in the events themselves.

My dad is a murderer. For a while, I didn’t think that. It seemed to me, as a child, I thought he might be, and then on further inspection it wasn’t really him. It was Yuri.

Well, Yuri was heartless and punitive. He had this thing about getting pregnant which, if you ask me, is a pretty stupid thing for a pimp to get upset about. Unless you are going to sterilize all of your sex workers, pregnancy is just going to happen and you are causing yourself unnecessary upset. Find a reliable abortionist and move on. But Yuri never asked me.

Anyway.

My dad was aroused by violence and by death. I don’t even know what I remember accurately. I remember my thoughts about it. I think it is possible to know some degree of truth, but I am not ready to sort everything that needs to be sorted out to know what the truth is. Not because the truth is so terrible—I already know my dad was not a nice man. Not a nice man at all. But in order to remember what I would need to remember, I need to remember all the emotions of those experiences. And, just now, those are too intense and too difficult.

But the events I am dreaming about are somehow connected to that thought: my dad is a murderer. Whether he was the perpetrator in those particular instances, I don’t know. It’s possible I stood in a room full of blood for reasons that had nothing to do with my dad.

This process is about thinking and feeling together. It is not about reconstructing events, although that is part of it, and it is not about releasing suppressed emotions. Unlike Freud’s idea, we are not like pressure cookers that need a steam valve to avoid exploding. Nor is it about arriving at the correct conclusions. It is about your brain working right, which is in a coherent way—thinking and feeling.

I am trying to do that now.

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