[previous chapter] [start from the beginning] Martina’s Facebook page had exploded when reports of the courtroom drama started to emerge. Martina herself missed the action; she was at work when it happened, and had deliberately logged out of Facebook so as not to be overly distracted by it.

She took a peek around 4:30, after her boss had left for a late-day meeting from which he would most likely not come back. And wow. She was still reading the new messages when the 6 o’clock news started on a television screen somewhere in the distance. She watched the report by Jason Martel and went back to her computer to add her own two cents.

Drama in the courtroom today when the sister of the accused, Nathalie Toussignant, was forced by aggressive questioning to come to grips with her own feelings of resentment towards her late parents. Apparently she ended up screaming, in tears, that yes, she hated them, too.

I don’t know Nathalie Toussignant, but right now if I did I would hug her close and tell her she’ll be fine. Because she has finally allowed herself to acknowledge her long-standing pain.

I’ve been there, too. My pain had been buried pretty deep, at least as far as I was aware. I was probably kidding myself; I’ll bet you I had been aware of this pain for many decades without letting that knowledge come into my consciousness.

Pain is funny that way. It’s there, but you can mask it. Personally, I used work and overwork to keep from feeling mine. It worked for the longest time. But the reason I started writing about my experiences is the Toussignant siblings. When I first heard about his defence, that’s when my own pain about my own childhood rushed to the front of my consciousness. It would no longer be ignored.

My original post from last week was painful, as I explained then. It’s good that I did not have to write it while on the stand, in view of the public, because I probably would have looked and sounded much worse than Nathalie Toussignant did in court today.

Because you see, the thing about delayed pain is that when you finally start to feel it, it really hurts and it will not relent until you’ve let it express itself. And how does pain express itself? By hurting. So in a funny sense, the more you acknowledge your pain, the more it hurts you. Which is some twisted kind of reward for finally allowing it to come to the surface, but never mind that for now.

The point I’m trying to make is, for those of us who are new at acknowledging our pain, Nathalie Toussignant’s experience today is one we feel very deeply in our bones. And I for one sympathize with her.

Martina sat back and watched the reactions pour in. They were coming fast and furious. A few were derisive and made fun of Nathalie Toussignant for being a crybaby on the stand, but most of them were, like hers, deeply and sincerely sympathetic.

She jumped when her phone rang.


“I see you’ve decided to take your writing seriously.”

“Oh. Hi Mom.”

“I cannot believe the things you write, Martina. I don’t know where you get the idea that it’s OK to invent stories to make yourself sound interesting, but I assure you it’s only making you look more pathetic.”

“More pathetic, huh? That’s really all you have to say about it?”

“Oh, no. I have a lot more to say about it. Starting with the fact that this little Facebook thing is going to cost you your job, and you better not come to me for help finding another one.”

“Right. Because you were so helpful in getting me this one…”

“Your sarcasm does not impress me, Martina. And I mean it; when you’re jobless and you've run out of money, don’t come here for help.”

“I have money, Mom. More than I need.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you do. But did you think about what people would say when you wrote that string of lies? Do you have any idea how horrible it is to learn that your own daughter is writing mean things about you from a friend of my cousin Louise, who saw your page on a CBC story online and told Louise who told me? You didn’t even have the guts to tell me yourself?”

It was such a string of disconnected criticisms that Martina didn’t have any idea what to address first. The need to make that decision, too, would not be ignored any longer.

“Bye, Mom. Don’t bother calling again.”

And that would be that.

[next chapter]