These things happened to me. Vile, horrific, traumatic things that have left a mark on me so deep, there are places I make it a point to avoid, because the mere thought of being there throws me into a panic. Snapshots in my mind of things that plague me endlessly even as I try to forget. And while I have come so far since December 14, 2012, I have the nagging feeling that I won’t be able to let go of them until I face them in the places where they happened.
This photo appears to be an innocent shot taken in haste while waiting at a light on a random street in a nondescript small town that could be anywhere. But this corner is close to the center of so many horrible things that happened, and I go through here every day to hit up Dunkin’ Donuts for my juice box (Jamocha Almond Fudge Iced Coffee with skim milk) and then back through again to work. For months after I left I refused to travel this street, and I nagged anyone I rode with not to drag me through against my will. They thought it was childish, perhaps petty, but they complied. I am sure the desperate look of terror that would come across my face convinced them not to test me.
What I see when I look at this picture is a block and a half going off to the left the church property where we slept while we had nowhere to live. To the right, at the bottom of the hill where the iron gate and fencing are, the other park where we slept that was in prime view of the bridge he once threatened to throw me over. And further to the right down the street , up and around next the convenience store lies the giant store of rocks where he plucked one up and tried to hit the back of my head with it while several people watch. And just across that bridge, the building where I lived and endured his spiraling drug habit and brutal punishments I try to block out of my mind. And just down the street from the building is where a stranger witnessed him punch me in the head and left me there with a 300 pound monster. And that is just where it begins.
Over the next several weeks, I am going to start making trips around and collecting snapshots of these places to prove to myself the phantoms there exist only in my head. Logically I know the danger is gone, but tell that to the conditioning. She is stubborn and won’t let it go. So I am going to drag her there against her will and let her know that I am not going to tolerate these things from her. It’s hard to feel free in a place where so much of it has horrible things attached to it, but I’m going to do it. I have just been waiting for the time I felt free enough to do it. And today is that day. Will I post them here? I’d say no, but we all know there will be stories attached. And I will share them, because that’s what I do.