My eyes are squeezed shut as I concentrate on my breathing. Â It’s a struggle, but I’ve slowed my breathing, pulling in slow lungfuls, releasing them more slowly, drawing on years of yoga and the practice of pranayama. Â Another blow lands on my red, inflamed skin of my buttocks. Â I can feel the shape of the paddle and wonder how long the marks will last this time.
The mantra in my mind intones “Sooo … hummmm” … breathe in….. slowly breathe out. Â Another blow lands, this time on my less toughened thigh and my breath comes out in a sharp gasp, eyes clenched against tears, jaw clenched against vocalizing the pain she’s inflicted on me. Â I struggle anew, working to find the mental handhold I had before, but she knows she’s gotten past my defenses now, knows by the sound of my breath and the set of my jaw. Â I hear the paddle fall onto the carpeted floor and don’t have longÂ to wonderÂ what will come next.
The sharp sting of the cane brings fresh tears to my eyes and now my exhalation is a cry of pain. Â My mental fingers slip and my breathing becomes a labored, panting moan. Â She continues, spreading the blows across my body, which would normally allow me to regain my control, but it’s too late. Â I no longer had yogic breathingÂ to strengthen and steady me, instead I pant and gasp and strain against my bonds to avoid the blows.
She stops, dropping the cane and using her hands instead to stroke and reassure me. Â I couldn’t tell you the words she said, the exact way she delivered praise and love to me, but I remember her telling me to breathe. Â I was inhaling and exhaling in a chaotic way, relieved that we were done, unhappy with myself for losing control, overjoyed that she continued to love me anyway.
“Breathe, love, slow-down, relax and breathe my beautiful boy” Â and with a shuddering breath, I collapsed into her.
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