Author: Hari Navarro

My daughter was raped as a baby. Does the fact that she was nine and not a baby make me a liar, does it take any of the sting from an opening sentence surely designed to shock and pull you into the tawdry undertow that sweeps through these words?

But you see I’ve always scorned those you refer to their children as babies when they are not, to label them such is to deny them growth. It belittles the struggles overcome as they claw to a crawl and stagger from cradle to ash.

But she was my baby.

An infant led into a filthy warm cellar by those she trusted and loved. Sibling neighbors, who stroked her long hair and locked the door shut as they pushed her down to the floor. She had been bad they said, perhaps even evil as they warned of the wrath that was visited upon all those who spoke of the punishment they dealt.

So that’s why we took her to the clinic, that place where gastropods had run up behind cognitive neuroscience and shoulder barged it into the future. We sold all that we owned to finance this wonder of science; this harnessing of the engram, epigenetic modification beneath the snap-crack of a ribonucleic whip.

We paid for the ability to peel away memories, to hack out those things that haunt her, those things that compact her teenage mind and stuff it into the dark. The pit where she cuts and she spits at the mirror. Where the wallpaper it peels and lays the truth bare as she scratches away at her skin.

It’s been six weeks since the procedure. The day they nudged aside her synapses and plucked instead from the shriveled and blackened neurons that stored each wretched second of that day in the cellar. And then, it wiped it clean from her mind.

Listen as she sobs alone in her room. Though now she has no idea why. It’s her spirit, the essence of what it is that makes her who she is, that now mocks inside her head.

Her mind cant play for her the images but the blood in her veins, the integumentary system that again feels the dig of her nails and the razors slit edge, it remembers.

It’s her strength, this overriding connection of body and mind, it is this she can mine to rebuild the childish things that she lost.

If I could I would put back that pitch darkness we took. It’s part of her. I’ve stolen from her the key. I’m so sorry, for how in the world can you now own that which you no longer have?

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