-"You said you wanted to talk." He beckoned her further: "So, speak!"
She was so nervous. She wanted to start at the beginning but mixed everything up. She started about a phone ringing, her tears, how he forced himself on her...
-"How do you remember all that?" he said almost in a tone that suggested a suspicious fantasy.
Maybe I should start at the beginning as well, although I have to admit that I'm not sure which "beginning" to start with.
One fine summer morning she had taken the subway to her sister's house. Her sister was waiting for her in the living room.
-"You need to talk to him, sis. Maybe he'll apologize." her sister tried to encourage her.
She took a deep breath, scraped herself together, stood up, and walked to another room beyond the kitchen.
There he sat. She hadn't seen him in so many years, and there he was. Still robust and fat, probably over a hundred pounds.
He was different from what she had imagined.
This man had to speak to her now as an adult and no longer as the child she never was. The child she never got the chance to be. A kid. Just a child.
Her sister had told her he was ill. He was under medical treatment because something was wrong with his kidneys.
He wanted to go out and take a walk.
-"Get me a drink." he said when they were on the street. She went to a nearby store and bought a bottle of water. As she came out of the store, she saw something that sent chills down her spine. Her ten-year-old niece stood by him, smiling, and hopping.
She turned and walked back to her sister's house.
-"How do you do this?" she asked her sister.
-"I just move on." was her sister's reply. “I have to.”
Soon after, her father and her niece arrived at the house.
She had to speak to her father. But alone and not here.
She made another appointment with her him. He gave her a business card with his phone number. She went back to her apartment.
Test, test, testing.... she scribbles on the first leaf of a new block of stationary paper she bought from the commissary.
I am Anja, she began to write, and I'm going to write down the story of my life. not everything of course. I do not think anyone would be interested in that. No, I want to talk about the reasons why I feel I must entrust my life to this patient paper. And maybe I will be able to find out why I waited so long to do that.
The reader may judge me, all I ask is that you wait until the end. Until my story is finished, and you have read everything.
I have been here for three years. Three years under lock and key. Or behind bars if you prefer. That seems like a good place to start. Before I write any further, I just want to say between the lines that I couldn't get that image of my niece, so cheerfully around my father's legs, out of my head. It looked so innocent.
The day I met my father at my house was a Thursday.
I jump from here to there and everywhere. Forgive me! God give me strength because this is so hard.
Let me start again.
I was born in the trunk of an old car. A neighbor wanted to take my mother to the hospital, but they didn't get that far. It was an emergency delivery.
Two years later our mother left us. I say us because I have three other siblings. She abandoned us and our father took us in.
One of my earliest memories? I see my father standing in front of me, and he orders me to undress, and then I had to lie down on a bed. He got on top of me and tried to have sex. I remembered the phone ringing. I also remember the pain. Around that time my father also regularly came to my room and locked the door with a key that he always carried with him. Then he sat on my bed and pulled his penis out of his pants.
-"Suck on it!" he said, "It's like a bottle." He started laughing and told me not to worry.
When I was thirteen, I had to go back to live with my mother. It became a very violent memory. She told me that she had always known that my father was a womanizer with a predominant interest in young girls. She hit me so hard with everything she could lay her hands on that it left lasting marks.
Life there became so unbearable that I wanted to go back to my father. I had a little diary at the time, and in it, I convinced myself that none of this had ever happened.
I returned to my father, who forced me to watch porn with him and sleep in the same bed with him: because he loved me.
"That's what fathers always do when they love their daughters," he assured me.
When I was seventeen I physically fought him off for the first time and he threw me out.
In fits and starts, I tried to build a life for myself. I stayed here and there, and when there was nowhere else to go, I stayed in a women's shelter.
I found a small apartment, ten minutes walk from the beach: beach parties, bonfires, getting drunk, and watching the sunrise. I thought it couldn't get any better.
I tried to talk to my family about the abuse, but they said not to hang up dirty laundry outside. Skeletons had to stay in the closet. They even protected him. I went back to my apartment, swallowed a few too many pills,
and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, where I told them that I didn't know why I had done it.
Incidentally, my sister had been raped several times by my father as well. She dealt with the past one way, and I another. She led an abstinent life and had three children with three different men, and took in my father...
I had to do something. I could forget about going to the police, because of the statute of limitations, they could not do anything. I could not ask him if he molested my niece either. I found no support in my family. So, I figured out my own way to stop him. I had to stop him, in any way I could. That had to be possible. Something had to be done.
I found the business card that had his phone number on it, called him, and invited him to my apartment to talk. When I picked him up from the station, I saw him looking at little girls. I kept my mouth shut. When we got to my apartment, I offered him a drink. I waited for him to say something: but he said nothing!
Finally, I asked him if he knew why we were there.
-"No." he answered.
-"Why?" he asked after the silence that grew too loud.
I was so nervous. I told him about what I remembered. His response: was a casual dismissal.
-"I only taught you how to take care of yourself. I taught you to be a real woman. I never did you any wrong, because I never penetrated you."
I felt encouraged because he stopped denying it. I wanted to go on talking, but he interrupted me: he said he only came to tell me something that had happened years before.
He started telling me that when I left home, my sister was raped by a group of boys. At first, I thought this was a lie. That he was trying to make me feel guilty, in which he succeeded. My guilt turned to self-loathing, and my anger turned to rage.
My father got up and took a step toward me. I reached for my purse, which contained a can of pepper spray. I sprayed him: we fought and fell to the ground. The coffee table broke in the process. I looked for a way to restrain him, but he did the work for me by passing out. He was having trouble breathing. I panicked; I did not know what to do to bring him back to life. I sprinkled water on him. I wanted to call out to him, but I caught myself unable to pronounce his name.
Suddenly he started screaming. I pulled the scarf I was wearing from around my neck and tried to shut him up with it. I tied in some tight knots.
I grabbed a pair of scissors, which I must admit I had prepared beforehand, and pulled down his trousers. The scissors didn't work very well at first. To keep him quiet I pressed my knee to his trachea.
One cut wasn`t enough: it didn't bleed excessively. I expected more blood.
-"You're not going to hurt anyone else!" I yelled.
I continued cutting and when I was through, I took my father's penis to the stove and turned on the fire. The smell of the burned flesh made my stomach clench. I stuffed the burnt organ in a kitchen towel, fled the house, and threw it under the boardwalk.
By the time police arrived, the cause of death was asphyxia. He did not have the chance to bleed to death from his injury.
And here I am. Gained fifty kilos, due to a combination of junk food (literally) and antidepressants. The therapists declared me fit to stand trial. I am depressed and emotionally dissociated, but never delusional.
In his opening statement, the prosecution stated that the horrors my father had inflicted on me had little to do with the crime I had committed, because I had never gone to the police and had chosen to take the law into my own hands. That I had made a conscious choice and put that plan into action. My attorney offered a completely different interpretation, asking the jury to look at what my father had done to me.
My case did not depend on the jury believing I was guilty, but on whether my actions were triggered by what I considered a legitimate threat.
The deliberations lasted only a day. I was acquitted of first- and second-degree murder. Instead, I was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter.
I had no intention of killing him, but my action clearly showed a disregard for human life.
It wasn't cutting my father's penis that killed him, but the gagging. I didn't think he was going to die, but my actions contributed to his murder.
The judge remained unmoved.
I must learn how to deal with it. That's my biggest problem right now: learning how to deal with it. I would love to be one of those sparkling people who glow from the inside because they are really happy, and don't have to pretend. No bad memories to remember or being terrorized by flashbacks.
And now, dear reader: you may judge my actions. Did I get what I deserved, or was I already convicted the first time my father molested me?