minute 33

"God, show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
The only thing that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
And I don' think there is nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
I want to talk to God but I'm afraid because we ain't spoke so long." (Jesus walks, Kanye West)

My name is Ofelia. I`m a bastard. I was born into post-civil war Spain in 1944.

My mother is Juanita, a char and my father is Vidal, a famous and wealthy fascist commander. They had an affair while my mother was cleaning one of his wives' houses and I'm the result of it. When I was a baby, my mother begged and pleaded my father to recognize me as his daughter and to support us but he just wouldn't. To him, I was a shame. How many times had she gone to his house but he always rejected her. The only thing he ever said to her was "Don't spoil my day." As many other women, my mother was suppressed by the dominating male world which displayed luxury and status and was denied any kind of help. Rich people just didn't care about the poor. It was like they denied that we even existed.

That eventually resulted in her killing herself and me landing in a crèche. There I was raised under strict Catholic beliefs by nuns, whose only point of living was to serve God and to do good deeds for others. It was the only place where I was accepted as a human being and the only time of my life where I wasn't an outcast. Do you know how it feels to live as a bastard in a strictly Catholic country during the 50s? You are simply worth nothing. Nada! Less than nada! But in this crèche, although we were born bastards, we were raised as good citizens. We learned all essential manners and rules of etiquette and to believe in God. These nuns were like angels, dedicating their whole lives to our upbringing. In this peaceful environment we were all walking towards our common goal: a better life. But after we started our own lives in the real world's society we were just treated as basura. All of my friends ended up as the garbage of our society just because of their origins and history! I was living on the street and eventually became Ofelia, la jefe de las putas.

The inner conflict between right and wrong, chastity and unchastity almost teared me! Sometimes I went to my father's house and watched him from a distance. I never gave up the hope that he would finally adhere to me, but he turned away brusquely whenever he saw me. Thus, the only possible way to escape this hell of life was to create my own phantasy life! So every time I went to bed after I had sold my body to some stranger, I closed my eyes and drifted into my phantasy world where I was the happy daughter of loving parents and eventually the queen of the world after my parents had died. This phantasy world accompanied me throughout my whole life. Without it I'd never have survived the real world.

"And it is said that the Princess returned to her father's kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look." (Pan's Labyrinth)

Faraneh Abrar