A word spoken.....a tone of voice.....a facial expression.
Smells.....sounds.....standing too close.
Triggers that flip the switch in the brain into panic mode and all of a sudden I'm 12 years old again, knowing what is coming for me from the other side of the door.
My heart pounds and a sheen of sweat that stinks of fear covers my skin. My mouth is dry and I can't swallow. My eyes nervously dart back and forth, checking that nobody is looking at me to witness my distress. I feel like anyone that looks my way must know, know ALL of my secrets, it's so obvious, just look at me, look at that hideous freak! But no, no one is watching and even if they were, probably wouldn't guess the inner turmoil my panic attack is creating.
I stand still and close my eyes, try to control my breathing. I wipe my hands on my jeans - dammit they're shaking - and try to remember where I'm at. I'm at work, and I'm an adult. That bedroom is long gone, I'm not 12 years old anymore, and HE is dead. Stay in the present. Stay in the now. I am safe here.
No one will be raping me today.
No one will be beating me today.
No one will be telling me I deserve to die today.
I open my eyes and look around; a handful of minutes gone by feels like an eternity. The urge to disappear into chemical oblivion overwhelms me....there, I can forget. There, I don't have to feel. But there....I almost died. I'm not ready to die today.
A phone rings in the distance, people pass me by. A voice near me, eyes looking at me now. "Hey Steve, you OK?"
That's the $64,000 question, isn't it?
"Yeah, I'm fine," I answer back, because it's expected of me.
I take a deep breath and walk away, back to my job, back to my adult life. I wonder if I'll ever really be OK.
Not today, no. But maybe someday.
Posted for the Blogging Lounge prompt #5: Turmoil.