(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.