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Ofelia, Or How Another Book Saved My Life.

I like keeping certain things in order. My room, desk, and papers may look like a complete mess to an untrained eye, but my thoughts and memories are always preserved with a flawless method because since I cannot forget, keeping all the drawers in my mind clean allows me to put things in perspective most of the time.

I wrote already four stories in this group, in a chronological order since I was four. I left out some very hurtful parts that happened before that, and many other details, but in general the stories are there. This means a lot to me because now I can come and read these journals, and the comments that everyone kindly left, and feel like the puzzle is coming together finally. It was not enough knowing what happened and keeping it inside of me, it had to be exposed somehow. 

Tonight is another sleepless night. Every time this situation occurs, I turn the lights on and find a book to read. The selection depends on the mood, and since these days are always nostalgic, it means rereading classics: tonight it was Hamlet. I keep all the meaningful books from my childhood in a special shelf because they must not be read lightly... they always will bring out images, and reasons... and that can always be dangerous.

My eyes are wet, and the fingers are shivering just after having closed the book. As always, it was devoured mercilessly by my hungry eyes, and it made me remember the little garden where my uncle enjoyed watching me naked. 

At age six, I was abused by my grandfather and left in a flower field to die. How I made it back to the house and survived is a long story, and it had to do much with chance, and with good timing. Anyway, he had debts with his brother and when I survived his murder attempt, he decided to pay him with my body. His brother agreed, and that was the first of numerous occasions that he used me to increase his wealth.

My home country has a tradition of cultivating flowers and taking care of gardens and greenhouses, so as a younger child I had participated on planting some bulbs, and enjoyed watching them blossoming with time. Now, when you ask me why I have this stupid botanophobia, I will think always of Ofelia, and how she floated away to her death followed by her beloved flowers. 

The day to pay the debt had come, and my uncle kindly asked me to get naked. (That is one thing you can never complain about... haha... anyone would consider them gentlemen with the first impression: well educated, considerate, well spoken, dressed with the finest clothes... never be fooled with the first impressions). I did, because I knew the consequences of revelry already too well... he then asked me to step into his little garden while he watched me through the window of his living room. 

The feeling of the grass, flowers, and plants on my naked skin was unbearable. It immediately reminded me of some weeks earlier when my grandfather had left me to die, and the stinging pain I felt, and the vision of the blood river running to my ankles. I cried and closed my eyes, but that only made things worse. I was naked, and he was staring at me from inside the house. I was exposed, and alone, and the feeling of these living creatures against my skin was insufferable. It soon started to rain very hard, and I wished with all my heart a thunder would fall on my head and fry it, releasing me from that sensation. 

Only then my mind transported me to Ofelia and her flowers... the daisies she gave to her brother when already madness had transformed her. Beautiful Ofelia who lamented and sang around the castle when everything was lost and all the insanity of the characters had been revealed. I thought then about the play and how enjoyable it had been reading it... and then, only then I could open my eyes again and realize he was naked there too in front of me, threatening to hurt me. I closed my eyes again and escaped to the world of the Prince of Denmark, reminding some of the dialogs while he used me as a doll. 

So back then like tonight, a book saved me... tonight by making me come and write this story, which I will read later when the sun is out and has cleared my ideas.
sweetmeisje sweetmeisje 26-30, F 32 Responses Jul 18, 2010

Your Response


you have such a beautiful way with words

I might not have suffered from any child abuse but I certainly do feel the agony just by reading your story. I love reading novels but every time I reach a part where a child or a woman was abused, I always stop reading because I'm scared of the rage it makes me feel. I know it's wrong but I really wish those abusers would suffer to death. >.