They strap me into this chair as Trenton Avenue traffic buzzes outside the wide window between me and the ball field of School #25 where I usually play, my friends engaged in baseball not torture, as the man hovers over me with his fingers in my mouth, tapping, tapping, tapping for the spot that might cause me the most pain.
His implements are lined up at my side with each one posing a deadlier and deadlier threat, while the current one digs deep into the roots of me while I squirm to escape.
I cry for him to let me go, calling my mother to make him stop, but he persists, as silent as Buddha, while in my daze I recall my own silence under the kitchen table when mother took too many pills and my uncles dragged her away to cure her of a condition no dentist could reach, her torture done with electricity, as they extract not a dead nerve but a living, breathing person, both leaving something unfeeling behind.
I keep thinking this pain is punishment for my not crying out that night when they took her away, my penance for not leaping out and beating down my uncles before they grabbed her shoulders in their working class way of shaking sense into her, each shake worse than any shock treatment.
I should have made them stop, I should have kicked and bitten and run away with her, but I remained silent, as silent as the man with his fingers in my mouth, as silent as the waiting room where my mother is NOT waiting, as silent as the hospital I visit every Saturday only to learn she doesn’t know who I am.