Be Quiet or It Will Be Worse

This was the lesson demanded of me when I was but 5 years old. My brother and I had been roughhousing and an accident occurred, bringing an abrupt end to what had been one of the best days I had experienced during my young life to date. Nothing truly bad resulted from our pillow throwing, apart from the thing my mother and I had worked on all morning long fell to the floor, crumbling into pieces. This broke my heart and the disappointment of not being able to share my creation at my brother’s birthday gathering with extended family later that evening would have been appropriate punishment for my actions. But not in my family. Instead the following was my just punishment, according to the belief system of my father.

Lean over the sofa. Lift up your dress. You are going to get 50 lashes from my belt. If you make a noise, you’ll receive ten more lashes for each time you do. So don’t make a noise!

Somehow I found the strength and will to remain silent, taking the full force of each brutal lash without so much as a whimper. How I endured I have no idea. This probably hadn’t been the first time, I know it wasn’t the last.


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