The first one

I think of the slaps. My father used to beat me. My father has always beaten me. I think of the humiliation. When a man beats you and he is your father you grow up with the feeling that it is the right thing to do. When you are a child you don’t have the means to understand that you don’t deserve it. You think that somehow it is your fault. When you are very young. As you grow up you rebel. But I ran away from my father instead. I left home at seventeen. My father used to beat me because he needed to vent his frustration on somebody who was very free. I have always been very free. An artist. Slaps. Slaps. Slaps. Hard slaps. They were violent but above all unexpected. Sometimes he locked himself in the bathroom with me. And he beat me. But above all he screamed and screamed and screamed. Because I got my tables wrong. Because I did strange damages. So I got the slaps. And he told me ‘remember who you are and do not let anybody see you cry.’ I do not remember anything of my past. Complete darkness. Only small flashes. Locked in the bathroom. The slaps. When he locked me in the bathroom my mother was left outside the door. She shouted his name pummelling the door with her fists. I have always had the impression that my father was in love with me. Not a fatherly love. It was a sentimental love. Not a pornographic one. My father has never touched me. When I was a girl he told me ‘if nobody marries you I will.’ But when I remember this sentence I feel very annoyed. I perceive him like a man. Not like a father. And I don’t think I am crazy. Because if this is what I perceived when I was a little girl, it means that this was how matters stood. I haven’t made it up. I think that my father had a much stronger feeling. I feel embarrassed when I am with him. Very embarrassed. And my mother always says ‘your father loves you so much.’ It is still a sort of sentimental thing. Not the feeling a father has for his daughter. And he behaves like that only with me. I feel very embarrassed. And the fact that he lays his hands on me. I have always thought that he used to beat me because this was the only way to touch me. Because he wanted to caress me. Always trying to exclude my mother. When he beat me, it was always something concerning the two of us. It was not her business. She had nothing to do with it. I also remember the feeling of very deep shame and the desire to kill myself. In the precise moment when he beat me in front of others. And made my hair fly. (The cuckoo chimes. She laughs.) The usual sensation of a very strong humiliation. When there were other people around. And I had said something inappropriate. He gave me a cuff on the head. And I remember that my hair used to fly. And I used to feel awkward humiliated stripped. I am terrorized by my father. Like I have always been. And this is why I live in a faraway place. Because he is an extremely dictatorial person. Since I was young he has raised me in fear. I am still afraid and annoyed. But I have never fought against him. Because I am that kind of person who always tries to resolve situations by communicating. Never by disputing. I have always tried to communicate. But maybe a fuckyou would have been of some use with him. (She laughs.) Now my father has grown old. But my father has ruined my life. He is an arsehole. I can say it at last. He is a monster. A shit. (She laughs.) He was a thug. Basically a real fascist. And now that he is aging he is terrorized by what he has done. He has realized it. Because when you grow old you have time to stop. And think of what you have done. He has ruined me. I know this is not an alibi. Because I am an adult. Somehow I have understood him, now that he is old. I have forgiven him. Maybe I have chosen to forgive him. Otherwise I would have completely deleted our relationship. Like some children do. I tried to make him understand. I believe I had made him understand. He feels guilty towards me. He has never encouraged me. Never told me ‘you have done something right.’ A father can become the executioner of his daughter. He taught me how to swim taking me by the ankles and throwing me out of a raft in the middle of the sea. When I tell my mother ‘dad used to beat me’ my mother replies ‘what are you talking about? You imagined it.’ Things happen to everybody. But nobody talks. As if it was a secret that we have to hide. So that they don’t look as ugly as they were. Because they were ugly. To keep an ideal image of our parents. And also because of this habit of ‘what they will say.’ We are not brave enough to tell people who they are, especially if they happen to be our parents. We are not brave enough to tell them what we think of them. But now it is too late. They are old. I don’t feel like facing their tears.