He was shocked and bewildered and lost. Our play had hit something at the core of him and he looked stricken, chest heaving, face screwed up, on the edge of tears. I cradled him, rocking him gently, kissing, crooning to him.
“It’s ok baby, it’s ok,” I stroked his face.
He looked up at me, a little boy, scared and bewildered.
“Please hurt me…” he asked in a small voice, “please…?”
I understood at once that he was asking me to bring him back from it, to ground him, to give him something solid to hang onto. I wanted to keep him here with me, this almost broken boy, and gently coax him out of it, but he needed something else.
“Yes, baby, yes… it’s ok…”
I spread him out, his anticipation palpable and a little desperate, his need trembling between us.
And then I started to hurt him.