Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Kinder, They Say

I always wonder what's worse. Is it worse to know beforehand, so your mind can dwell, for days or hours, on what's going to happen to you? Playing it over in your mind, imagining the scene, the implement, the pain. Does this help you cope?
Or is it better not to know? To not even realise that you are going to be punished until retribution falls? If you know beforehand, have you mentally prepared? Does that make you more stoic? Better able to take the strokes?

They always used to tell us. Even if we didn't know the exact day, we knew that the transgression had been noted, that retribution would be coming our way at some point. The thought would be there, at the back of your mind, squatting like a toad, until the appointed hour came.

They've changed the rules now. Kinder, they say. Now you don't know that you're going to be whacked until you're standing on the carpet in front of his desk, mind jumping everywhere. What? Why? How much? Help!

Kinder, they say, but the few minutes I have been standing here have been nothing less than the concentration of all those days and hours of worry that I used to have. A few minutes, but overwhelming minutes, of sickness, panic, nerves. Until he announces the sentence.
Pausing. Standing and looking me straight in the eye, though I can barely return his gaze.

“Twelve, I think.”


Em said...

Personally, I prefer not to have it hanging over my head. It's not so much carrying the dread around in the pit of your stomach that I dislike, in fact, I really like that part.

However, I've found if a scene is going to be very intense or something new that I haven't done before, then the build up really ruins my frame of mind when it comes time for it to actually happen. It seems that if I spend too much time fretting and building it up in my head, that I overload on the sensation and it can turn into blind panic.

So, yes, please surprise me :)

Caroline Grey said...

Beautifully expressed! There's something magic about the way you moved from the hypothetical to the middle of a story that I really really loved.

As for me, I hate surprises.

EmmaJane said...

This is lovely Eliane. very evocative and beautifully written.

As for me, waiting really terrifes me, makes me sick to the pit of stomach but also adds immensely to any scene.

Guess I like a bit of both!