I wanted to write something about the relationship some of us have to traumatic experiences from our past. It seems important that I write this from an intuitive, non-technical place. For me, this is because intution – as opposed to fear – is what we need to develop regarding our power to manage our way through the world again, and the events that have wounded us. Events that separate us from ourselves.
Night, Night. Absence of light
I have a terrible feeling and I don’t know where it is. It’s like a shadow in me somewhere; a shadow that flits around if I see it – feel it – out of the corner of my eye. I turn quickly, and it’s gone. But it’s inside me. I don’t really want to see it anyway. It’s like the shadows in my bedroom when I’m a kid. In the dark. Too scared to look in case it’s real. And so I hide under the covers, hoping it will go away. Wrestling with myself; tensing up and wanting to relax; hiding instead of getting out of bed and putting the light on. My struggle under the covers makes me more and more tense until I’m stiff with fear. Too terrified to walk down the hall to the bathroom, I pee on the floor, then jump back into bed. Eventually, exhaustion forces me into a sleep. And I dream a terrible dream. A dream full of shadows.
Day. Presence of sun
I awake and the shadows are gone; burned away by the sunlight streaming through the window. The man who was going to get me last night morphed into my dressing gown hanging on the back of the door. The dog that was going to sink its teeth into my ankle if I got out of bed, is my bag sitting under the chair, where I left it; buckle for a tooth, strap like a tail. It’s okay to get up now. I’m exhausted, weak. For a brief moment I begin to scan my memory for the dream I had last night. Dreams. All night. Then I stop myself. I don’t want to remember. It’s hard enough having forgotten. I feel a tightness in my chest and I haven’t even put on my slippers.
People happy. People numb.
I feel my chest all day. Is it my heart? Or another shadow? Could it be the same heart that beat all those years ago, and survived? No, it must have been a different heart. They smile and ask me how I am and I say ‘fine’. They don’t want to know how I am. I don’t want to know how I am. I hear them muffled, talking through pillows; smiling through a vaseline lens. Zombie. I am numb. I dig my fingernail into my thumb to see if I’m still there. But as I do it I realise I don’t want to know. Go through the motions. Slow motions. I am an awkward lump in someone’s sofa. I am floating on a raft on some stranger’s sea. Travelling, away, away. I cannot cope with people happy, people numb.
Come back, come back…
Come back, come back….Jack. The Titanic has gone and a frozen soul flip-flops like a Dover Sole. My head is full of sea slime and barnacles; fluff and torment, and little kid terror that I am dead already; drowned with the top coated, top hatted. In a dream I took a razor, and in a navy blazer, rolled the sleeve and cut some old arm in there until it bled. Some old army navy blazer. A little slice won’t phase her. A slice of ham, a bloody palm. Starve him out, carve him out. I feel a telegraphic signal shoot up through the wire, between a brain and a pinkie. I’m back. It’s an arm. It’s alive, it’s alive. I am Jack’s palpitations. I am his broken soul, his trembling tears.
Jumping Jack, back in the box
Jack-in-the-box. He’s back in the box. I close the lid down tight whilst gritting my teeth, and feel him pressing back with his head; bracing his legless spring up hard when only a tiny hook and flimsy catch keep him locked away. Keep his scary face at bay. Horse blanket over the box. Horse shit. I put the box inside a bigger box. Put it all inside the cupboard down the hall. Lock the door and put the key inside a pale green bottle, then listen to it rattle. With the word ‘HELP’ written in spare blood on a scrap of paper, rolled up, slipped in, corked and bunged. Throw it to the sea addressed to Bob and Carol. They’ll look after me.
If they can ever find me, beyond the fearful waves.
All written material on this website is subject to copyright and cannot be used or reproduced without permission and clear attribution being made to the author. Please contact me if in doubt.
Photo used under Creative Commons licence. Source