16th June 1990
'How...How can he live with himself every day knowing what he does to them. He disgusts me.'
"Tan? Dad? Lunch is ready." Melinda shook me from my trance as her sweet voice rang from the kitchen through to the living room. I was silently cursing her father as he fiddled with the TV trying to fix whatever the problem was. Her mother was asleep, which is something she did very often. Yet, I believe she used the room as a retreat from reality more than anything else. I seldom saw her.
"I said no goddam lettuce! You can't even make a sandwich, how the hell do you get through school?!" said Fred after I followed him into the kitchen once he had given up on the television problem. Melinda barely had a chance to reply before he lifted the top slice and rudely threw off the little piece of lettuce on to the table. He grabbed the plate, shook his head as he walked off with his out-of-proportion belly leading the way, brushing my shoulder as he passed.
"I'm sorry, that one was yours," Melinda said so politely, yet the fear of him in her eyes was still visible.
"Hey it's ok I'll take this one, thank you" I said with a smile, trying to make her feel comfortable again.
“Ok,” she replied in the cute embarrassed voice that sometimes surfaced in moments like these. She smiled and turned to towards the washing basin, but instead I saw her dry an eye where a tear had been hiding before as she pretended to put dishes in the right place. I kept silent as I had sat down to take the first bite of the sandwich, just to give her a moment to gather herself. Not that I knew what it felt like to cry. According to my father, he has never seen me shed a tear. In truth, I probably never have. I wondered what it felt like quite often, but I’ve never really felt that kind of emotion. I saw it in Melinda’s eyes all the time. It saddened me to see my best friend this way. The girl I loved.
“You’re not eating?” I asked in surprise while chomping on the delicious piece of heaven she had made for me. She had sat down by then.
“Nah, not hungry,” she replied, but never looked my way. Something she did to hide her anxiety. I knew then that I probably shouldn’t leave her alone this evening, but I needed to get home as my father needed me back early. The look in her eyes told me that she had been meaning to tell me something. I’ve been seeing it a lot lately, but I chose to change the subject immediately since time was against me. We spoke and laughed a bit, and I left about an hour later, promising to call her that evening.
As I walked home, I thought about that look I’ve seen on her lately. It was about something that I already knew. Every time I touched her, I saw the memories that plagued her every moment of her life since she was young. The sights of Fred, her father, on top of her moving rhythmically to pleasure himself. Her memories of seeing him throwing her mother to the floor and doing the same to her. The beatings. The verbal abuse. A few weeks younger than me, it was something no fifteen year old should ever have to go through. No one ever should. All of these memories I could see, like a live slide show in front of my eyes. And, I could erase them. With ease. Give her a clean slate. A new beginning. If she’d let me. But she had never even told me about it, so easing that pain, like I have done for so many others, seemed a long way away.
Walking past and waving at my neighbor Justin as he glided on his skateboard, I remembered the time I erased the memory of his brother and his friends sodomising him in their attic. All Justin said was that he wished it never happened, and truthfully it crippled him for years. So I did what I did soon after his brother passed from TB, and most of his friends had moved out of town. I then saw Shiela across the street, nodding and smiling in my direction. I erased the memory of her husband locking her in the basement constantly because he didn’t trust her. I manipulated her into telling me after I had accidentally overheard their argument as I took a short cut through their yard one night. I wasn’t proud of my methods, but I live in a rough neighborhood, and she left and kicked him out after she caught him cheating, and lives a more than happy life now with a man that loves her. Many others on my street and at school lead better lives now because I have removed damaging memories that only they knew about.