(c) April 2012
Is fascination always part fear? The dark. The unknown. The horizon. Did those early explorers, who sailed over the edge of everything they knew, feel both terror and euphoria?
And can my own memories, as clear now as they were thirty years ago, be so easily explained thus? That uneasy mix of fascination and fear that centred on two things: it – the cane; and him?
Or should I concede a further third dimension to those sepia tableaux that I summon often?
That third, forbidden part of the picture whose existence surprises me, appals me – thrills me – even still? The eroticism. The deep sexual colour in which the whole scene is bathed. The velvet of the curtains. The orange of the flames. The ochre of the stick. And the searing red of the lines he branded upon me.
In the end, is it not all about those colours?
Eighteen. And terrified. Like a cartoon villain who had run too far and fast and found herself over a clifftop before realising her doom. Stuck for one cruel moment between the assurance of what had been and the knowledge of what would come. The instant before her fall, with awareness suddenly complete of the misery that awaits. That was me.
It was, in the end, simply inevitable. If you were late thrice you could expect to make that most awful trip; compliant across the knees of a man old enough to be your father! And there to be walloped. As if your seniority counted for nothing, knickers mid-thigh, and your bottom flushing a deeper shade of red with each descent of his unforgiving palm. It was inevitable too that the tears would come. Deep, sorry, and ever more desperate: the sobs of a girl at last truly subdued.
Irritating. That’s what it was. Those all-but-useless attempts the girls inevitably made to interfere with their punishments. And insulting too: for their atonements were necessary; the sins had been committed; now it was his job to wipe their slates clean – with sound application of male palm upon bared female buttocks. But it was an irritation easily resolved. When their hands flew backwards, to try and stem the pain of a particularly cruel spank, he would simply take a grip of the wrist, firm, unbreakable, and hold her, pin it, pin her, and let his right hand continue its unfortunate work uninterrupted. And the flush spread ever deeper.