He was looking at me with that odd ‘looking all around me and through me’ gaze. His eyes flickered to things here and there, as if seeing things move around. “His reflection is in your aura. But it is only his reflection. It is not him. It has no will of its own. I don't think you understand this.”
“No, I don't.”
“I think you think he can still rule you, and he cannot.” He leaned forward and put his empty tea-cup down on the table. “So you think you have no will of your own.”
I swallowed hard. “With... with Chevenga under his hand... he... proved to me that I am like him... I...”
He interrupted me. “He was teaching you helplessness. He set out to prove to you that you had no will of your own...”
“Helplessness. Yes.... I responded to... I don't know how to explain this!” I’d put my own teacup down sometime in there and was now curled up in the chair in a ball, clamped around my aching guts, a ball of flesh holding all the razor memory inside.
“You don't have to explain, not yet. Take a deep breath, Minis. Stay with me.” I pried my eyes open and stared at him, out of Hayel, panting. I stopped an drew in a single breath long enough make my ribs and chest wall and stomach ache. That straightened me up somewhat.
“I... I’m... angry as well as afraid.” I managed to say it. “I'm trying not to be angry with you, it isn't you!”
He signed chalk. “Slow down the breathing; breathe fast and it just fuels the anger.” He smiled slightly. “It will have its chance later. And don't worry, I know it’s not at me.” I stared at his calm face. Yeoli, but looking so Haian. “Deep breath,” he said. I managed another slow breath instead of panting as though running. “Again. Keep it going while we talk.”
I signed chalk and nodded at the same time. “All right.”
“It was the first time I ever...” I choked up, coughed and managed to go on. “How do I tell you this, can you see this in me?” I waved a hand around myself in the air. “Here?”
“I can see it, but I have people tell me because the act of telling ties them to their own experience...and thus to their own lives.” I swallowed hard and focused on my breathing. “The first time you ever...?” he asked, leading me back to that.
I folded back in on myself, clenched my eyes closed with my hands over my face. From behind the safety of the wall of my fingers I managed to whisper “Cl...climaxed.” My voice was ragged, torn. but the word was barely understandable.
“Put your mind on your breathing,” he said. “Do you know that a man can be made to climax against his will?”
“Yes... I... was taught... I saw... yes.” The shadow of a burned out basement and the bandit screaming hung in front of my memory. I swallowed hard against nausea, once, twice. “I... need... to vomit...”
“There’s a water-closet next to my room here.” He showed me the tiny cubicle outside and I made it to the garderobe and yanked my hair out of the way just in time to vomit thin, sour yellow bile, heaving up the emptiness in my belly... mostly the water and tea I had drunk here. I hadn’t eaten the noon meal anticipating something like this. “Feel good about it,” I heard his voice back in the room. “You’re getting rid of toxins.”
I wiped my mouth on my wrist cuff and managed to walk back into the room rather than stagger and sit down properly. His look was compassionate as he held out my refilled cup of tea to me. “Making a man climax against his will... or a woman for that matter... It's simply a matter of how the nerves are arranged...” I’d been aware that 2nd Amitzas considered it as a sort of last resort for me, but I’d managed not to fight him enough for him to use it. I rinced my mouth out with the hot tea. “Just as we can be made to hurt against our will, we can be forced into pleasure. Also against our will.”
He rubbed a finger thoughtfully over his lips. “And then, when you are released... ordered Chevenga to release you...you stayed, wanting more?” He must have seen that in my aura.
I was suddenly shaking all over “I... I couldn't move... I was just on the point of... at the cusp of it... its disgusting... He had Chevenga release me. And I... was desperate that he not stop... my father laughed and gave him... Ch.. Chevenga... p.p.permission to climax when I did, permission to make a noise... then...” I couldn’t go on. Was I going to harden into this knotted ball of flesh? But I was shaking all over at the same time. I was going to fly apart, fall into a thousand pieces.
“We are here and now, Minis. Start breathing deep again and stay with me.” I realized my breath was crawling in and out of my body in gulps and sips. I took hold of my breath once more and that was when silent tears began again. My vile organs...I wanted to beat on them but I knew, I just knew, that Surya wouldn’t allow me to. “I... I’m... reacting to the memory... I... it’s hideous!” I was so upset and angry. “He wanted to tie my pleasure to that vileness. He did. I... when I feel one, I feel the other and hate myself for it. I'd... rather not.”
I was nauseated. My gut was sore, my vile organs were sore.
“Minis. First of all. Why do you have those tight wrappings around your genitals?”
I gulped. “To... to hold myself down. It doesn’t always work.”
“To keep yourself from having erections, you mean?”
I nodded, then twitched a chalk sign.
“I want you to remove the restraint. It’s all right. You can put your underclothes back on, and your loincloth... but the wrapping is hurting you.”
I stared at him. “What? Oh...” He gestured out at the garderobe and I found myself on my feet, but I couldn’t make myself move at first, but he just waited. He wanted me to... release my vile organs. I managed to close the garderobe door and my fingers shook so, undoing my belt that I had to take my gloves off.
I removed the wrappings slowly. My penis lay, against my testicles as if it could hide from me, cringing. It felt odd and terrifying to merely draw on my underclothing and kilt, as if that part of my body were cold and about to fall off without the support. It couldn’t hide, tight against my body. Cringing, I walked back out, feeling the motion of that part of my body, moving too freely.
It was horrific, feeling them move like that, I almost wanted to waddle to try and keep my thighs from touching myself and sat down on the edge of the chair in front of Surya.
“It’s all right, Minis. Deep breath. It’s part of you and is not vile, or ugly, or horrible. Your training has taught you that the organs themselves are horrible, not what you have been forced to do with them. To hold back at the point of climax is beyond the control of most men, let alone a boy of... how old were you?
I gulped. “Twelve.”
“Far beyond. It's like pain, Minis. It's a bodily reaction. I think also you must have known that he would make you continue anyway... so there would have been no point in trying to escape.”
I gulped more air. Yes. He was not going to let me stop. “I can't help despising it, and myself... its all tangled together in an ugly knot in my gut.”
“Disentangling it is what you are here for.”
It burst out of me louder than I wanted, louder than I expected. “HOW?”
“There is no logic in hating yourself for something forced upon you. But an experience like that makes the mind confuse them. That is just natural.”
I was able to nod. “Much of Mahid training is based on that confusion,” I said, trying to move all of this to a more thinking place rather than a feeling space.
“You have to understand to the deepest level, Minis. And you have to accept that you were helpless.” He leaned forward and patted me again. “Don't worry, I know how. Because it is, ONLY emotion. Not reality. That's the most important thing. The self-hate, the fear, the anger... they're all just phantoms. They seem real and huge because of their nature.”
My eyes were open, fixed on him. I was trying to breathe, trying to unknot myself, trying to straighten up and I couldn’t. I was folded in half now, my arms around my knees. How had I even gotten into the position? His hand on my back felt so good, so safe.
“I just have to say, it’s not real?
“Oh, it's not quite that simple,” he said. “But that is a start.”
A heavy sigh burst out of my lips. “A start. Yes. All right.”
“You are at an advantage in that you are here only six years after it happened. It hasn't had that much time to etch itself into you. And you are still young enough to be impressionable, meaning you can learn new things to replace the old more easily than someone older.”
“I don't have sexual urges when I'm awake, usually, if that's what you're talking about.”
“That's not what I'm talking about, but I can tell you, you only have sexual urges at night because during the day, you are stifling them so hard you don't know you have them.”
“You are expending too much energy and you are suffering for that.”
“Is that why I'm tired all the time? Sometimes I feel like an old man.”
“Yes. Someone your age should be itching to climb mountains the moment he wakes up.” I looked up in time to see him smile. A warm expression, concerned and with me. “And someone your age will also be wanting to do it with every person he's attracted to... with no fear, only joy. Stick with this and we'll get you feeling that way, trust me.”
“Oh.” That sounded wonderful. Like Gannara and Farasha... just wanting to. Just feeling that excitement and saying... ‘loincloth on the door, right?’ Or like Chevenga and Kallijas. Or... everyone else. I wanted so much to be like that. To feel that ease inside. Like... like... not wrapping myself down. Just free. It seemed too easy but this was exactly what Zinchaer had told me.
“I... do... I... All ri...ght. I do trust you. I keep wanting to apologize for pulling this mess out on the floor in front of you...” I felt shame at letting all this out. It was harder to expose myself to a Yeoli rather than a Haian but I could do it. I caught his smile widen a trifle. “Minis, I LIVE to sort through people's messes.”
He straighened up and I was able to, as well. “That is my calling. And, yes, I love doing it.”
My laugh was almost painful. It felt like I couldn’t pull in enough air to laugh with.
“Just one thing I must warn you... when Chevenga goes back to Yeola-e, I will most likely be going with him.” I nodded. Can I find an Arkan healer of his calibre? Or a Haian? I trust Haians... I’m so glad there is someone like this for Chevenga...
“Now.” He settled back. “I mentioned your advantage. Your disadvantage is that it was your first sexual experience.” He looked. “First, but not your only sexual experience?”
“I... had... one other... that was... wonderful.”
“Excellent. So you have had one sexual experience that was not rape, that you could freely enjoy because you knew everyone involved was there willingly.” I nodded silently. “So you cannot say you don't have the urge You need to remember your good experience to realign your natural urges. You are very lucky to have your friend--”
“-- Definas Pasen.” I interrupted.
“Yes. Do you know where he is now?”
“No.” The rush of shame I felt was enormous. I put my head back down on my knees. I hadn’t thought of Def, ever since he left, to go fight the Alliance... four years ago.
“Minis... take a breath. I suggest you try and find out where he is, what happened to him.”
“All... all right.”
“And don’t feel shame for not having done so till now.”
I had to laugh. “Oh, yes, and that is so easy.”
He chuckled as well. “Yes. It is so easy. And so difficult all at the same time. You have to give yourself permission to not feel that shame.”
There was nothing to say to that, but “Yes, Surya.”
“Here's the thing... the capacity for healthy sexual urge is in all of us. Including you. Your body knows, inside, how to be lustful in a positive way. It's just a matter of untangling that from fear and pain and shame. So... we clear away all the crap, you'll be fine. You'll just find it's there, naturally.”
“Y... yes?” It was like testing a sore tooth or reaching a careful finger to the side of an alcohol stove to see if it is too hot to touch. “Clearing the crap is good.”
“Crap-clearer is my calling.”
“I didn’t know that there was such a healer who’s job title translated as ‘garderobe man.’”
He laughed right out loud. “Exactly.”