a chronic childhood nightmare (1957-1963?) + 1999 crayon illustration, by Wayan
I was bodiless but trapped--strapped? I couldn't tell. I was just an eye.
All I could see was a fixed oval visual field with some slowly moving wires. I only knew they were moving because now and then a knot drifted by.
Whenever I saw one, an intense, horrible sensation filled me--not exactly pain, but a terrible wrongness so overwhelming there was no room left for anything but suffering.
That's how I know the brain has, as well as centers for physical pleasure and pain, a center for emotional stress--a displeasure center.
The recurring nightmare faded as I grew, but I never forgot it.
Only a few years ago, I learned that my uncle had lived with us when I was two... and he was crazy. But they let him babysit me--my parents were like that.
Apparently, when we were alone, he told me--in horrific detail--how they gave him shock treatements--the old, high-voltage, Frankenstein kind. My sister was able to confirm it--she recalled me telling her how they strapped you down and applied the electrodes...
The moment I learned this, I knew my recurring nightmares had been based in reality. All my life I'd been wary, tense, solitary--afraid if I said the wrong thing they'd put wires to MY head...
After learning the truth, I grew more relaxed and spontaneous, not just out in the world, but even in sex. This half-buried memory had shadowed even the most intimate parts of my life!
So I drew the barbwire nightmare at last--with an orgasm of life and truth bursting in.
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