How I see what PTSD has done to me. To show how my journey led me to the here and now.
|Did you know the entire story?
From my childhood to now?
Roses to cactuses.
Roses to cactuses.
A tape spins like an old horror story, a projector cuts to Richbarn Road.
The trailer we lived in was blue. It’s a double-wide. Cactuses and decorative rocks lined the front. Three white steps lead to the white entrance door.
Importantly enough, the vertical sliding windows with the annoying metal tabs (to open them) become a good part of my story. There are a few of those on the front side of the house. There's plenty of trees. I remember a trampoline and swing set, although I believe those came later. The driveway was simply dirt and grass that worn into tire tracks.
The house was a standard three-bedroom, two-bath, living, "dining room," and kitchen. The dining room is only an extension of the living room. This is where you entered the home. The master bedroom/bathroom and kitchen were to the left. Walk further into the kitchen and you've entered the laundry room. The smaller bedrooms and the second bathroom were to the right.
"Nan" (grandma) lived next door in a slightly larger home. She had an above ground pool. She wanted my mother and I close by. So she had my mother's trailer towed from another city to here. She had the home placed on her property maybe 50 yards away from her front porch, after I was born.
The boy's room was originally carpeted. Their ridiculously bright red and metal bunk-bed was against the wall furthest to the side of the trailer. A twin mattress on top, supported by small metal bars. A matching ladder. A full size mattress on the bottom. There was a dresser on the other side of the room. A plastic seesaw with the same tone as the bunk bed. A closet. One window. A door.
(note from me: I’m trying to figure out a way to better describe the bunk-bed.)
The girl's room was carpeted. The wooden bunk bed laid alongside the bathroom wall. The twin mattress on top was supported by four slats of wood. Another twin size mattress on the bottom. A dresser sat on the opposite side of the room, which would have been against the backside of the house. I vividly remember a snoopy lamp. One window. The lightbulb was an incandescent soft light bulb.
The master bedroom was carpeted. A water-bed was placed alongside the wall of the living room. A dresser sat in a corner of the room with a tube TV and a Sega console arranged on top. Sliding closet doors were made of mirrors. The master bedroom opens into the master bathroom without so much as a door to provide privacy. Oddly enough, the bathroom was also carpeted. The shower and toilet to the left and tub to the right. The vanity in the middle.
When I was twenty-three years old, I revisited. Essentially trespassed onto the same piece of property. Lord knows who currently resided. I enter the property in between the lines of a barb wire fence, catching my shirt, snagging a group of threads. I stretch out the cotton. No holes. I got lucky.
My very first memory comes to mind. And I see roses on the other side of the fence. I reach through a barb-wire fence probably curious of the bright colors, only to snatch my hand back and cry. Thorns.
I walk further into the familiar wooded area, camera in tow. Just as I remembered it. I even found a golf ball. Memories of collecting these come to mind. My papa did this for fun. Teeing them off into the abyss... The memory comes but fades fast as my eyes reach the cactuses. The flat ones prevailed. Those decorative rocks ingrained into the dirt. The rest I assume, buried beneath the earth. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I was disappointed. Where was the house?
It was time to go. Barb Wire fencing caused the headache of getting in to begin with. I was hoping for an easier way out. I stalked alongside the fence until I found an old rusty gate. One of those large swinging gates that kept the farm animals in. But I didn't remember this gate. My eyes followed the tire tracks which led back towards a trailer. I notice a wooden porch built flush with the floor of the trailer. Maybe it wasn’t time to go. The trailer looked abandoned enough. Curious and hopeful, I walked the tire tracks. The windows. This was it. I wonder, maybe the property was parceled off and the house had been moved.
The unfamiliar structure hedged over me. I do not remember this porch. As I walk, the wood splinters beneath my feet. I stop. A quick breeze shakes the leaves. Dust circles and then settles about me.
I breathe. Vagus. But I’m watching from above.
The front door mocks me but I knock anyway. No answer. I knock again. The knob beckons me. What used to be golden was now greenish, brown and rusty. A wave of psychosis hits me in the gut. The doorknob is suddenly white, free spinning, and I’m unable to open it. The door is unmoving.
I blink. Breathe. And in front of my eyes, there’s a door knocker. It mimics the look of a heavily twined rope. It’s not weathered nearly as bad as the doorknob. Why? Perhaps it’s an addition or replacement.
The doorknob. The colors of brown, burnt red and green wash over me. It’s as if I were invited in… like a vampire pulled in by some force of dark magic. I reached for the handle again. The knob squeaks and turns.
Panic ran through my veins as I opened the door. The draft of musty air assails me. My eyes focus on the telephone. It’s mounted onto the wood-paneled wall just right of the master bedroom door. The coil hangs and falls onto a small table. Books and magazines stacked in a disorderly manner. I walk through the “dining” room, towards the old phone, and blink. And blink again. I close my eyes for a second.
There isn’t a table. No books. No phone. Nothing but a phone jack.
I shake the vision and walk casually to my mother’s room.
The room hadn’t been vacuumed in years, that part was clear. Random items and paper are left behind.
I briefly observe the content of what’s left behind, searching for something that is handwritten or contains enough text to seem personal, but less text than the typical terms and conditions of whatever junk mail is always composed of.
It’s at this moment I knew I was on the hunt for something. I wanted to find something I recognized. I needed to. I looked for a Morton Salt container. I imagined one, wanting some sort of souvenir. I’d take it home and hide it so well that I’d lose it forever.
(note: I tend to hide things that bother me. I end up losing them in four of the tupperware boxes I have. I don’t go through them out of fear. Is there a better way to word this? Should I leave it out?)
I’m at the bathroom. Memories flicker. Thoughts race. I remember the first time I’d realized what a man’s jungle looks like. I remembered the drugs. The glass. The medicine. My mother pricked my fingers with a tiny needle. I was always afraid. I knew what the machine did. But I was told that it kept me safe. It kept me well.
And I was diagnosed with many illnesses such as Diabetes and Lupus. And then I was fed the remedies… the medicines. Only to be subsequently locked up like a lab-rat.
My reverie is interrupted by scorching bubbles at the top of my belly. My morning coffee burns into my throat and then settles again. I know what I’ve chosen next. I wanted to save the room for last. But I couldn’t.
The door of the boy’s room had been replaced. I didn’t expect to see it. And understandably so. The door was once sawed at the top hinge and latched. Resembling something you would see at a daycare. The bottom door was equipped with a baby-proof knob cover. The cover was white. The exact design doesn’t exist anymore. I know. Because I’ve searched for it. Nonetheless, it assumed the purpose. It kept the four of us locked in.
The top door opened at someone’s convenience. It was fun for them. It must have been. We were thrown what must have been the remnants of the kitchen. Condiments and such. Sometimes cereal and cold pizza. It was random. But for the longest time, Morton salt containers triggered me, brown sugar sickened me, pickles pissed me off and Mountain Dew enraged me.
None of this was fair. I was so angry. I unconsciously came to the floor in the middle of the next room. The room was so small. But I remember it so big. Are my memories real? I swear this room was huge. It was presently carpeted just as it originally was. However, at one point in the thick of history, the floor was vinyl. And this is where my mind goes. My brothers and I slip across the floor while my little sister lay on the mattress, which laid on the floor. A bottle of dawn soap and a large bucket of water were the happiest of these times. Slipping and sliding. Competing. Rolling. Pushing. Dragging. Circling. Spinning.
I get up off the floor. So hesitant. So scared of where I was going. And I snap a picture of the floor vent. This is where we toweled the mess when the fun was over.
I move on. I move quick. I’m drowning. Memories are flooding my mind. I need to surface. I zip through the rest of the house. Taking pictures from every angle. And I’m gone. I ran in a dazed state. Half tripping, cursing at my old sandals. I’m holding the camera against my chest even though it hung on a strap. I didn’t want it bouncing around. This camera now contained something I needed to understand. A memory card full of pictures. Something I hid so well, that that I lost it forever.
I fumble for my keys, get in my car and close the door. I’m unfeeling, sitting in the unwavering heat. I’m waiting for something to hit me. Wake me up. A few moments pass when sweat drips between my breasts. It’s tickling. And with deadened motions, I turn on my tiny blue car.
I take a three-point turn entirely too rash. The road digs up. The concrete wash becomes a transient fog that treads me to the paved road. It surrounds me as I come to a stop. I skid out. I’m done.
(note: did I end this chapter too soon?)