by Leila Kulpas
Leila Kulpas is the author of a memoir entitled Into the Eyes of Hungry: Growing up in the Wilds of Australia. She has an Honors degree in English and a degree in medicine, and until she retired, she specialized in psychiatry, treating mainly those with childhood trauma with psychotherapy and minimal medications. Her prose has been published in Psychotherapy Review, National Voices anthology and various newspapers, and her poetry on the internet by Pandora’s Collective, in five journals and four anthologies.
My ten-year-old sister was nearby
that day, though I don't know what
she saw or heard; I was six.
Saying he wanted to show me
something, the thirteen-year-old
boy arranged me upside-down on a
The next thing, he was trying to
push a part of himself into me.
Pain! I cried out.
He'd withdrawn and disappeared,
before my mother peered from the hallway, where she was sewing:
What's going on?
when I came to understand what he'd
done, I was overwhelmed with
The first person I told, in my thirties, was my psychiatrist,
whose comments were kind and soothing.
I confronted the molester,
whose response astonished me.
Well, at least it wasn't rape or anything, he said..
It wasn't? I declared. That's exactly what it was!
After a silence, he muttered
something, and then apologized to me.
My sister had been my best friend
in adolescence, but I didn't talk to her
about what happened
until many decades later.
Immediately and loudly, she declared,
That never happened—it's a false memory.
Surely couldn't imagine
she knew every moment
of my early life.
I repeated what I'd said more loudly
emphasizing that it was the truth,
and also mentioned that the molester
had admitted what he'd done.
To no avail.
In the years since that day, she has repeatedly insisted
on the falsity of my memory,
and even wrote and published something about it. The memory no longer hurts like
it used to; now my main feeling is sadness
about my sister's response.