open letter to my molester

Do you hear its wails resonate in it?

I was 8 years old.

The harmonium serenaded me with its haunting moans for years since the day you left. I wished that you would have to hear it as well – the ear writhing howls that echoed as each of its keys rattled like old bones. More than a decade has passed yet I still remember every bit like it was yesterday. I still ask myself if you remember it too. Well, do you?

I was 8 years old.

When I met you for the first time it was my idea to let you in through my doors. My little heart fluttered like a dozen hummingbirds as I bashfully looked at you discussing your teaching plan with my mother. “My first music teacher,” I thought with hope glistening in my eyes. Never could I fathom that it would be the last time I would consider singing as my passion. I never realised that it was my first mistake. How could I have known any better?

I was 8 years old.

Do you remember the day you took my parents and I to buy my very own harmonium? You always had a smooth way of talking and my parents were instantly invested. I couldn’t be more ecstatic. You see, years of morals and ethics taught me about the pious nature of a teacher-student relationship. It had made that image concrete in my mind. Because of that, every time that I looked at you, I saw a guru, a guide; but above all, a new friend.

I was 8 years old.

That same day in the music store you smiled at me. A smile that is still etched onto my skin like an acid burn. That heart-warming, summer sunshine like smile that I so longed for from the people around me. Your smile was like an embrace that instantly engulfed me and I smiled back just as brilliantly. If only I knew that that was my second mistake. How naïve was I to think that I had finally formed a bond that I could cherish? A bond whose testament was the singing of the harmonium.

I was 8 years old.

Days passed and I was so eager to learn as much as I could from you even though I was a timid child. I always waited for the weekends, seeing that your classes were a welcome change. The chatter of children would fill our house followed by harmonies. Tea was always served for you, our guest. Even now I cannot understand why you would always make me serve it to you. Still, I knew that you would only instruct me to sit next to you in every class. You told my mother that my sweet voice was barely above a whisper; for you it was a harmless lie, right? Nonetheless, my need to be in your good book was so intense I’d do anything, and you knew that. You knew me all too well, didn’t you?

I was 8 years old.

Was that my third mistake that you finally punished me for? Was it wrong to trust you or was it my own fallacy that I could not see the diabolic? Did you think it was a reward? Was it a well-deserved reward for being the obedient and sincere student that my parents and my culture always taught me to be?

“I want to see your face better,” were the exact words that you whispered before fixing my hair behind my ears. It was the first time that I looked in your eyes and the same smile that used to fill me with such warmth made my insides twist. Your hand rubbed across my cheek as you commanded me to tie my hair. It burned. Even then my innocence blended with years of moral training blamed me for feeling uncomfortable.

Remember when your hands would ‘accidentally’ touch my breasts and you would just laugh it off like it was nothing? I tried my best to believe you. prayed and pleaded every day that it was the truth.

I was only 8 years old.

You branded me with your filth. Sometimes when I look in the mirror now, I can feel your hands on my cheek. After all these years, I still cannot look at my bare bosoms for I fear that I’d find marks of your deeds carved onto them. The thought that my body is a carrier of your sins leaves me with the dying urge to peel my own skin.

The harmonium is the only standing witness of it all. Even today it sits in my house choking under the years like a fading memory. The last time I heard, it still cried from the pain of your touch. Its grief reverberated through its hollow carcass but only my ears discern it. Its blood red jacket and equally cardinal wood is a bitter reminder of the crimes it holds and it bleeds the unspoken truth that was muffled down in a dark corner because it was never too grave to talk about.

I haven’t unveiled those red covers for a very long time, failed to fix it in the past. wonder if it still wails upon touch AND I wonder if it still waits for a sliver of relief, if not justice.

You branded me a victim when I was a mere child. You chained my mind and body as your puppets for so long. I hope that no other child in all of these years was trampled under your curse. But I know that one day I will be strong enough to escape your hold. You would not have any power over me. I vow to not let you have your way with my mind anymore. One day my body will not be tied down by your abuse. That day, the 8-year-old in me will not tie her hair for you. I will let my curls caress my body for I will be my own. On that day the harmonium will sing again and I too will sing with it as one.