Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation. -Rumi
You don't know who you're going to ever remember being when they regress you. In the little room with the glassed in technician's booth, like a mixing studio. Nobody knows if what's recounted in there is true or not but it's always a little strange to hear your own soft voice narrating experiences you've never had, at least not in this life -- that is if you're bold enough to request a replay of the tapes, so that you can hear what the technician & the researcher already heard clear & live as it was getting said & are now listening to attentively for the second time, often while turning dials or taking rapid scribbled notes. Some people get upset, they shiver & bite their tongues so hard they taste blood. Others smile calmly & shut their eyes. Calmly as you please. Until the tape runs out & snaps itself off & the technician leans forward in the booth & says, "That's all," & the lights come up. It's hard for some people. It's easy for others, especially if they don't believe what they themselves said under the combination of hypnosis & the mind-bending, world-shattering drug. Hearing themselves is sometimes like hearing wind in a tunnel, cold rain in the pine trees. And other times like hearing the ghosts of the dead. "Regression is unpredictable in its results & sometimes those results are exceedingly strange, even downright eerie." That's from the manual. But this morning's was the eeriest of all. Even the technician was spooked. You could see his ears moving at parts & yet his elfin face was rigid as stone. I stopped taking notes. I longed for it to just be over. The woman, a little Mexican woman, had started talking about how her knees were shaking when the soldiers arrested her. Then her friend or maybe a bodyguard or a follower of some kind, a man named Peter, had drawn a sword. So we we are now somewhere in ancient times, I thought. And Peter had hacked off a soldier's ear with his sword, before the little Mexican woman, in a voice at once rough & sorrowful, had told him to put away the sword & stop being stupid. The mood in the booth now went cold as rain in deep mountain pines as the little Mexican woman told, with long pauses & ellipses, yet very clearly in simple & moving terms, how she'd been interrogated & whipped & then made to carry the pine crossbeam on her shoulders, stumbling through the streets in the roar of shouts & sadistic taunts & laughter, wavering & falling to the stones in the blazing hot sun, dripping blood-laced sweat, all the way to the bone-strewn hill where she was stripped naked & laid down on the cross & had nails, long iron nails, pounded into her wrists & into her crossed naked shins, three long nails altogether, by the soldiers in their tin hats & then hoisted up into the sweet smelling spring breeze, wracked with pain & chest heaving, & how she'd seen her beloved Mary kneeling below, weeping into the dust, & heard the cries & taunts of the crowd & the jeers of soldiers, & how someone had positioned a little ladder & clambered up it, a dwarf like personage, & pinned to her sweating head a crown of thorns, & also mounted some kind of placard above it, & she'd heard people below shouting "King of the Jews," & sometime later a spearpoint had gone between two of her ribs, but now she wasn't sure because time was shrinking & expanding & there were dark patches when she was barely aware of anything but her thirst, her raging thirst, & when a sponge, a yellow sea-sponge, was held up to her mouth on a stick she sucked thirstily, but it was vinegar, which she spat out along with a mouthful of blood. There were crows & ravens all around & she worried vaguely they would come to sit on her head & peck out her eyes, but maybe the crown of brambles prevented that from happening. Gradually her sight grew dim & distorted, & she remembered crying out with a heave of her chest "It is finished," or some words to that effect, & her head fell to the side & just like that the green hills above Jerusalem blinked out like a hallucination ending & she was gone. Gone to where? the researcher -- I -- asked her. I don't know, she said, after a minute or so had passed, her eyes blinking. Nowhere maybe. Do you remember waking up in a cave, or anything like that? the researcher -- I -- asked, breaking protocol so dramatically as to draw an astonished gaze from the dimly lit technician's booth. Anything? No, the little Mexican woman in her silk pantsuit & sandals said, hardly moving her lips. Nothing happened after I died that I can remember, just nothing at all. Nada. There were no more questions to ask. After a few minutes she fell asleep. It would take about an hour for the drug to wear off. The technician pressed a button to speak from his booth. "Should we let her listen to the replay, if she asks?" I shut my notebook & sat back in the chair & rubbed my forehead with the back of my fist & after a long painful time had passed said, "No, no, I think not." "Delete the session, then?" "Yes, my God yes. Please. Delete it."