Edith Talmason


The room is enveloped in a grey mist - filled with sound. I am floating
softly on air, adrift in a timeless void. I am riding on a cloud, I’m
borne by my memories and filled with longing. Something is happening
around me, but I am not a part of it. I am an observer, No, that's not
true - I am there, I'm part of what is happening, but I'm also watching it
happen. To me. How is it possible? How can I be in two places at the
same time? Who are all these people? What in the world am I doing here,
and what are they doing to me? There, that man there, he is probing my
body. I am spread out on the bed like a fish about to be gutted. What is
he doing to me! And there, look, there are so many machines and tubes
attached to my arms and legs. It is a struggle for me to move even a
little. I am fighting very very hard to get loose, to get away, I am
trying to scream, my lungs are about to burst, but not a sound escapes. I
feel as though I am screaming, I am trying to escape my tormentors, but I
am held firmly and I am unable to move. My eyes are tight shut, and I feel
waves of nausea coming over me. No one is helping me, my screams are to no
avail. Where is everyone.. Why am I here, alone, a prisoner of these
strange people? Dear God! Momma! Momma! Help me! There’s Pain. Pain
is all around me. Inside of me, in my head in my legs in my arms. In my
mind! Momma, Help me! But there is no help for me. I have to get through
it somehow. There is no one in this world who can help me, I am alone with
these predators, these creatures the likes of whom I have never seen
before. I want to lash out and hit one of them, I want to scream at them
to stop this awful thing they're doing to me, but I can't. I am just
vehicle for them, a vehicle to another plain, and somehow I know that no
matter how reluctant I am, I will have to cooperate, and they will do
whatever they want to do, I'm their tool. I don't want any part of this
horror, but I'll have do whatever they command me to do, I have no
volition. What kind of drug have they injected into my body. I am so
nakedly exposed, and helpless, I can do nothing for myself, I am in limbo.
Neither from the table where I lie, nor from above where I can clearly
observe myself spread wide open and shaking with fear, can I expect a
reprieve. I can see and feel the fear and disgust at what is happening to
me. The pain is escalating. It is a crescendo. It is coming to a head,
it is bursting out of my head, my ears are clogged with my own screams, my
legs and arms burn from the straps holding me firmly stretched to the
table. The harder and more fiercely I fight the more insistent the pain
becomes. The straps cut into my limbs. . I think I have reached the end,
it is unbearable, I think I will never get through this, they are killing

I try to open my eyes, even a slit. They are shut tight. I can't open
them no matter how hard I try, I am sapped of all strength. The pain is
now subsiding. Whatever they did to me, they are done with me, and I am
left with a dull aching pain. It fills my whole being, I can't get away
from it, but it is no longer the excruciating torturous pain I have just
been through. Slowly I try again to open my eyes, even one eye. Just a
slit, it is very hard. I feel that there is a great light in the room. It
is extremely bright. It is very hot under that light. It is the same
light that they had used to do their work on me on that table. I have to
see. With my last bit of strength I gathered all my will and try again to
open my eyes. I succeed in opening one eye just enough to see that a clock
which is strategically placed, high up on the wall reads 6:36. But, is it
morning or night? How long have I been here, so helpless, and in agony? I
close my eyes again, grateful for the peace at last, not caring what went
before, or what is happening now, just sweet, sweet sleep. Sleep to make
the nightmare just a dream. Later I will think about it more and
understand it better. I can feel myself drifting off again. The color of
the pain is changing. It is now a comforting blue, and purple, and I am
deep into myself.

Slowly I am becoming conscious. Someone is gently shaking me awake and
telling me that it will all be better now. I feel safe now. Much is going
on around me. The room is bright, and I am not alone. It is a huge
dormitory of a room. We are all women there, in that cavernous room, all
young. We are all in bed. I think that they too must have just been
through the agony I have experienced. I am still exhausted, I cannot
recall what has happened to me. I am aching all over, it is hard to sit
up. My throat is dry. I want a drink of water. Something to eat.
Someone to tell me where I am, and what has happened to me. How long have I
been here? What will happen to me now? I look to either side of me. The
women in those beds seem relaxed, even smiling at me, perhaps they will
answer my questions. Later! Just now I want to lay back and revel in the
absence of the pain.

A woman dressed in white, pushing a cart is coming into the room. Perhaps
it is food! No it is pills of all sorts for all of us. I take mine
without question, like a child. And then I wait. I need food. My energy
is sapped, I am limp, bloated, thirsty, tired, and hungry. I hear the
other girls talking to one another, smiling, joking and happy. I feel
melancholy. I don't know why, but its a part of me. I listen more closely
to the conversation back and forth, and I hear something about what they
have been through. Just like me! I begin to join the exchange, when the
double doors at the end of the dormitory swing open, and again a cart is
being pushed in, and the odor of food precedes it, and all conversation is
suspended while we eat.

Later we doze, and the answers to my questions are further delayed. We are
told that visitors are coming, and "Shouldn’t we freshen up a bit, put on
some lipstick so we will look beautiful for the visitors?" I am more
conscious now of everything around me. I see that there are flowers on
each one's nightstand, and that unlike myself, they are wearing lovely
nightgowns, and looking pretty. They are flushed with expectancy. The
visitors are going to be a treat, and a break in the routine. So, again I
do what I am told to do. I freshen up with the help of a nurse and a basin
of warm water. She powders me with talc, and, I find my lipstick, and I am
ready to receive visitors for the first time.

When the double doors open this time, it is a nurse bearing a small bundle
wrapped up, swaddled in a nondescript blanket. She is walking in my
direction. She must walk the whole length of the room, my bed is at the
other end, so I have time to wonder as she passes each bed, where she is
going. As she passes each bed, coming closer toward me, it finally begins
to dawn on me where I am, and what it is that has happened to me. She
placed the little bundle in my arms, and said; "Now mother, do not disturb
the baby, he needs his sleep". But as soon as she is out of sight, I
unwrap the swaddling and examine every part of him. His toes, his fingers,
his beautiful face and ruddy body. He is the most wonderful thing I had
ever seen, or done. I haven't yet heard his voice. So I flick his little
feet again and again. There is no response. I become panicky. I spank
his little bottom. No outcry from him. Now I feel very anxious and
afraid. I ring for the nurse, and she comes running, and finds me in
tears. "Something’s wrong with my baby. He doesn't respond. He doesn't
cry!" Her reply to me is: " Didn’t I tell you not to disturb the baby.
Why did you unwrap him!" I said: "I want to see that he is perfect.
He's my baby, I can do anything I like with him." Pretty snotty for such
an inexperienced new mommy. She picked up the baby in her capable and
experienced hands, turned him over, and gave him a good whack on his
bottom. He hollered out, as loud as a little newborn can holler. It was a
wonderful sound, and the most beautiful sound in the world to a mother's


Copyright (c) 1999 Edith Talmason
Published on the World Wide Web by "www.storymania.com"