An old student in class 7 now came to my house yesterday. She comes a lot these days—mostly because she is terrible in maths, but also just to talk. She came yesterday to give me squash or something kind of squash-like. Anyway, it’s a nice vegetable and these days we are between seasons and mostly we are eating potatoes. Then she came back because she was going to go on an outing with the art club that one of the maths teachers organizes and he didn’t show up. She and her friend decided instead to clean one of my toilets. Then they wanted to arrange my livingroom. Then my bedroom. My livingroom looks lovely now. Or did, before I put some of it back: too much teenage girl.

It made me sad after they left. First of all, because they were touching all my things and so many of them are things that I have only to remind me of people I loved. Nata things. Ksymcia things. Mostly Nata things. It reminded me I need to think some things over, because I am dreaming about what I don’t have time to consider in the day, and I go on having nightmares.

What did I get out of that? That someone is missing. Someone I loved is not in the picture. There was one more loss.

Someone small. I piece it together—it’s not that I really remember everything. But things click. Annousheh. A little one. It seems she died before Nata came, and I think the bloody room could be full of her blood. There are two pictures in my head of bloody rooms: one with big body-parts and one with little ones. One where I’m trying to put the body back together again. One where I’m screaming. And I think Homeida was a real person: I think she came on one those occasions. Ksymia came on the other. But that part is vague. I don’t know.

What I do remember is Annousheh’s small body against mine, her skin, her hair, her smell. I think she was a year or two younger than me. She was three or four when she died.

It explains actually a lot of things: that sense of having lost someone, I mean physically lost them, as in misplaced. Before I found Annousheh, she was lost. I didn’t know where she was. And it also explains the urgency I feel in keeping C safe. I feel more and more a sense of family with her. It’s triggering that sense of “little sister.” Little sister got lost. Then she died. It’s blurred.

In therapy, I used to think that the past and present had to be totally different, that basically everything being “triggered” from the past by the present was irrelevant, and my reactions from that were always inappropriate and misguided. But that’s not true. There are relevant bits and irrelevant bits, and the reaction is sometimes stronger. It has to be regulated more intensely or it gets so strong I can’t think anymore. I just do.

I’m getting this “little sister” sense, which is actually the relevant piece of information. All of these emotions, the sense of having misplaced someone, the urgency, the fear that she will die—they are all there as part of telling me this child feels different than other children. Closer, like family.

It’s a huge relief to know what it is all about. I’ve just had the emotions for weeks now. I tried to keep them in check a little, so that I am not acting mad out in real life. And it’s the emotions that are really the hardest to handle. They take time. I don’t know what I am doing with them before the memories start becoming solid and comprehensible, when they are just playing out as feelings with no real form or narrative to the, but something is happening. Something important. Then the actual memories are easier. I think the actual memories are easier because many aspects of them have been processed in the context of other memories. It’s just parts of it that I have to handle.