The Arrogance of Experience
June 13, 2018
“Assume the position.” I thought I would have more time, Pilis usually spends the first hours of morning in his study. Reluctantly I drop to my knees and remove my tunic. Whack. The world opens up. Whack. Light begins to vibrate. Whack. My head is spinning. Whack. I fall forward. “Back up, I am not done with you yet.” It takes some time but I manage to get back upright. When did I start crying?
Whack…Whack…Whack…Whack…Whack…Whack. He kicks me over, angered at the indignity of it all. Pain is my only touchstone. I do not move, even if I could. My punishment is only half over. Some say actions speak louder than words but Pilis prefers to pair the 2. Now I will receive the wisdom from on high.
“You think you know what is best? I have known your family for 8 generations and even back then I knew more than you know now. What could you ever hope to do that I have not already seen? What could you possibly think that I have not already considered. Everything you think is new I have known for centuries. Your life is mine for the next 15 years, and you must accept that. I will make you accept it.”
He pauses for a second, maybe for effect, maybe to formulate how he will browbeat me next. “You think your talents are wasted here. You resent the bargain that was struck, yet I tell you now the 2 rounds a month I pay you far outstrips what you could earn on your own. Free of me you would still have a master, it would just be your own depravity. You question what you do not know yet lack the context or discernment, let alone determination to actually find any answers.”
He grabs me by the shoulder and turns me over. He stands over me a looks straight into my eyes, with his pointer finger outstretched accusingly. “I will tell you what to do. You will listen and obey. There is no other way this works. There is no other way it could work. When you are able, finish fetching the water. Please do not force me to repeat this lesson for you.” With that he left back to his study most likely.
Not strong enough to rise I turn over so my punished back is not hard against the floor. The air cools it but also makes it sting. Misery follows me as my very own shadow. I struggle, first slowly to my knees. There I rest adjusting to the wicked throbbing. Then I get my elbows under me. Luckily the wall is close enough I use it as a brace to finally regain my feet. My back aflame I figure the tunic can wait for later. Slowly I grab my buckets and head back for the well.