Barbarism


Your cells remember; your body remembers
October 29, 2010, 4:23 am
Filed under: REBECCA | Tags: , , , , ,

I feel a block. I can’t access memories, so I’ll have to conduct interviews and revisit childhood locations to re-feel what I only faintly remember telling myself I was (flintily, bravely, maturely and sophisticatedly) tucking away for safekeeping. All I ever ended up doing was repressing. What a waste. So proud, so sly; I thought I was so wise and able when I told myself I was temporarily putting bad memories mentally aside and keeping them for later. Now I’ve forgotten.

How can I retrieve my memories? What do I remember? Something about Hebrew school, maybe, but not the auburn-haired, loppy-mouthed girl whose gang bullied me (her brother was decapitated during a post-Bar Mitzvah bus ride when he stuck his head out the top when their bus passed under a bridge); something to do with boys, I’m sure. Something about the library at the synagogue; probably something about… I remember books about the Third Reich and The Devil’s Arithmetic… the one that was turned into a Showtime movie with Kirsten Dunst.

I think this was when I was trying to identify with the Jews. The Jews. A maternal, communal fantasy of calmly warm-faced, straw-haired women and men with dark linen slacks and kerchiefs, collecting oysters and living on overcast beaches. My fantasy of The Jews is very Secret of Roan Inish.

Anyway, I imagined they were my people. Jews. Family romance stuff, I imagine. Idealized forebears, come take me away and make me safe. At Hebrew school, maybe everywhere, there was that terrible, exciting feeling that made me nervous and I hid in the bathrooms so I wouldn’t be teased by those terrible girls. I loved the way the cantor sang, but what was I thinking? Was I lusting after boys? Oh, that feeling—I remember that feeling, that thick, windy sex feeling I associated with The Jews—could I possibly have equated it with safety?

Hazy, half-filled memories: Our cabin’s couch in Nisswa. A waitress at the diner always wore green parakeet earrings. It was an inside joke of which I was not a part. Me, my brother and some boys under the covers. Reminds me of the boy who reminds me of a little crying Jew boy with a runny nose and bloodshot eyes, running in helpless, futile circles, calling for his mommy. Under the covers. Everything reminds me of something else, something earlier.

Everything disgusts me. And scares me. Anger. Where’s my breakthrough? Sarah’s having lots of breakthroughs. I need to remember more. I can’t access my emotions. What do I remember? The Jews. The couch in Nisswa. But that’s not enough.

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