Illustration by Christian Bienefeld
"So, mom, remember when dad took me to that 5-day daycare in Tula?"
"Tula? Are you out of your mind? It was much closer."
"He didn't take you to no Tula, he took you to that daycare from his work, APN [Agentstvo Pechati Novosti, aka Novosti Press Agency]. Look it up. Look up their daycares. And why are you asking me?"
"Oh, I was just—"
"I told you not to ask me. I told you that everything that traumatized me in the past I have erased from my memory. ERASED. I don't want to hear about it, I don't want to know about it. Do you hear me?"
"Yes, mom, but—"
"I'm done with this. Done! Why do you keep digging? You just can't leave it alone, can you? You already asked me and I already told you. Well, don't you remember? Didn't you write it down? I don't want you to ask again. I have found some peace at last, I'm going to church, and you're laughing at me, at my faith."
"I never said I'm laughing, mom. I'm not laughing at your belief. I despise religion, yes, but I never criticize people who believe in God. If that is what works for them, if that is what makes them happy, great! It's their choice. I respect that."
"Well, you said, you will never believe in God! You said—"
At this point I realize that I have gone a bit over my usual self-permitted restraint in trying to glimpse the episodes of my abuse from my mother so I could remember the details. I have to be very careful when I ask her or she gets very angry. There is a lot of pain she stores, and I don't know if in her lifetime she'll be able to see my pain behind hers. I think probably not. In any case, inadvertently she told me what to look for. We talked for one hour, I listened to her but after this bit of conversation my mind was gone. As soon as we hung up I went to Google to try to find the address for that daycare. APN, the news agency where my father worked as a journalist, is long gone, but the actual daycare is still there.
I HAVE FOUND IT.