“All right, class. Let’s do some standing meditation.” Sasha gathers the four students into a small circle. Leslie takes her usual place to Sasha’s immediate left and assumes the standing meditation posture, but not without trepidation. Meditation taps into the deep wells of sorrow in her. Many of the memories she has repressed for decades became released as she practiced standing meditation. This had started soon after John had moved in with her, and she realized it was because she was having the first spectacularly joyous and positive sexual experience in her life. In her past, none of her partners had matched her libido or her creativity in bed. What’s worse, most of her partners made her feel like there was something wrong with her because she wanted sex so often and in so many different ways. They were intimidated by her appetite, and they thought she was weird because of it. In addition, the abuse she had suffered twisted her view of what she had to offer in a relationship—mostly being the perfect sex doll. So, she sometimes wondered how much of sex she enjoyed for the act itself and how much she enjoyed because she was trained to enjoy it. John had thrown her paradigm out the window, and meditation was tapping into the pain Leslie held around the subject of sex. Her first recovered memory had been seemingly benign.
It had started as a normal Saturday. The girls did their chores in the morning, and then things turned strange. Mrs. Chang made the girls put on their best winter dresses, changed into her favorite bright pink woolen dress, and she dragged them to the part where they ran into a tall, smiling, handsome Taiwanese man she introduced as Mr. Liu. Leslie remembered that the day was chilly, but the sun was shining brightly. Even though Mr. Liu was affable to the girls, Leslie hadn’t liked him from the start. She liked him even less when Mrs. Chang insisted the twins call him Uncle Liu in the old-school way.
Mr. Liu bought the girls hot chocolate, taking special care to have it doctored exactly as each girl liked it. Lisa had told him she wanted marshmallows in hers, and he had turned around and asked Leslie if she wanted marshmallows as well. Leslie shook her head without saying anything; she did not want hot chocolate at all from this man. However, Mrs. Chang was insistent, and Mr. Liu finally wormed it out of Leslie that she liked whipped cream in her hot chocolate. Lisa asked if she could have some as well, and Mr. Lie said no. This created the first crack between the girls—one that would never be mended.
Mrs. Chang scolded Leslie as Mr. Liu went to fetch the hot chocolate. When he returned, Lisa immediately started sipping hers whereas Leslie simply held her cup in her mittened hand. It was only when Mrs. Chang ordered her to drink did Leslie lift the Styrofoam cup to her lips, and then she methodically chugged down the hot chocolate over Mr. Liu’s protests. She finished her hot chocolate quickly, ignoring the blister that was forming on her tongue. She thanked Mr. Liu for the drink, threw the cup away, and spent the rest of the afternoon trying with little success to avoid talking to Mr. Liu.