I have so much work left to do. It’s so much easier now, and yet I still have so much more work ahead of me. Integration is really not easy. It’s not as easy as just dealing with the major traumas or even as easy as recognizing you are one person. It seems to me it’s a matter of learning how to think again, and learning how to think as a traumatized person: I mean learning how to think when pretty much everything trips through the wires of a trauma memory, which just really isn’t something everyone has to figure out how to do.
I went to C’s house yesterday. Her mom and the neighbour—one of my student’s mothers—were sitting outside pouring beer for the local schizophrenic who is in a semi-psychotic state these days. I sat with them for a few minutes: the schizophrenic always talks about the foreign teacher they had here when she was very young. I guess it must have been in Class 2 or something. She sees me and automatically is reminded of her and begins to talk about her, sometimes in coherent terms, but mostly not. Then C’s mom called her and she came to the door looking startled. I went inside, and C made tea.
It was kind of a pained visit. I am not sure why. I wanted to talk to her about what she would need to take to school with her next year and what things she needed.
That was on the surface. Inside, I suspect there was a lot more going on. I suspect there was too much going on, because I am considering a departure and a separation and both are so immensely painful. I will be away from C for nearly 2 months. I have to go to the Capitol City. A separation and a departure.
I know it triggers so many other separations—separations that were permanent. So many small departures and then the last departure, after Nata died.
But it no longer surfaces as one complete trauma. It comes sort of in bits and pieces. When I leave, C comes to stand in the doorway to watch me leave. Every time she does this, it hurts. It hurts because I don’t kiss her. I know Nata is really dead, because I don’t kiss anyone anymore. There is no one I kiss three times anymore. It doesn’t really hit me then, as I am standing there telling her to study for science, not to watch too much TV, not to play on Facebook too much. I kind of preserve it in my head, as a moment to think through later.
I suppose I am reminded because there is a family feeling to C, and yet it’s so clear it’s a different family. I can bring who I am into the present—I don’t have to leave every part of myself in the past. But we interact differently with different people. There is always something of an “us” we create together with whoever we are with, especially if we are close to that person. So I cannot be exactly the same “me” now as I was with Nata.
It’s such a small thing—the three kisses—but it seems to have so many layers. So many of them hurt.
I don’t really know what to bring of myself into the present. I don’t know what is me and what is merely the past, what is just something that happened. That’s the hard part of integration. There is this period when you really don’t know. It seems to me that way, anyway. That’s my experience of it.
Sometimes, the unfairness of it really hits. Nata was such a beautiful person, and she was only nine when the trafficking started. Why didn’t anyone take care of her? Why wasn’t she protected? I won’t ever have the answers to that. I didn’t know to ask those questions when she was alive.
And I also just miss her.