They say that it starts to hurt less when you find a way to laugh about it; that when it becomes a joke to you, the pain slips away. This is why I never stop trying to laugh about that night in July, at Uncle and what he did. A man years older than my father, bending his nine-year-old  nephew over, and pressing a hand over the boy’s mouth so the boy’s screams wouldn’t be heard beyond the obscure room’s walls? Nothing funnier than that, I try to convince myself. I laugh and laugh, even when the flashes become blinding sparks in my mind. 

Did he spread my ass cheeks? Hahaha. I can’t believe that. My, my. He stuffed his erect penis into me even when I kept struggling to voice the name of his God — the very God that had him sew the white robe he wears to serve mass? I should hold my stomach now, so it doesn’t burst open to spill the humor moving through me. Like my anus spilled shit and leaked blood and water all through that night and the morning that followed.

The world went dark.

Uncle threatened me. He told me he would slash my throat with one of his knives and my blood would become a pool across the ground if I ever told anyone what had happened. He pressed the tip of his knife against my neck whilst he spoke, his other hand holding me by the collar of my shirt. 

‘Do you want to die!?’

I shook my head, tears slithering down my cheeks. ‘No, Uncle. I don’t want to die.’

A mistake. 

I ought to have said yes. I ought to have jerked forward so that the knife would sink into my throat, cutting through skin and muscle and tendon and trachea until my neck would wheeze as air and blood escape it. 

If I had said yes, I just might have been underneath soil now, lifeless. I sure wouldn’t have been seated on the ground, legs stretched out, laughing at this scar on the left side of my trunk. It’s a funny-looking scar. I mean, look at it. Doesn’t it look funny to you? This slit. Look.

The knife didn’t go as deep as I wanted it to. I was fourteen. Oh, the knife didn’t go as deep. It was supposed to. The thrust was supposed to be fatal. I imagined that when the blade would come in contact with body, my body, that my flesh would tear open, blood fountaining, and that my bones would offer no help to my internal organs as they are punctured.

I imagined wrong. Apparently, I shouldn’t have fainted with the knife still inside me. I should have held its pommel and given that one push.

When I woke, the first thing I saw was a doctor, and then my mother. I remember what he told her. He said, ‘He is not going to die. But when the wound heals, it’s going to be one hell of a funny-looking scar.’

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