My 20-year-old self met a forgotten 7-year-old girl. I remember becoming acquainted with the past and it felt much like a storm that had great potential for impacting damage.
Often I have heard that the eye of the storm is supposed to be the safest place to be. Yes, maybe safety is there, but horrors flash in front of your eyes. Peace is not found in the center of a storm.
It happened in a car. I remembered in a car. How ironic. As I sat on cloth seats in my grey Honda, the memory of a red four door vehicle and tan leather seats broke through my subconscious. My entire being was flooded with emotions. Nausea welcomed these foreign memories into my life.
What I thought to be true was no longer true. What I thought to be my story was no longer factual. The fiction I had believed was now being rewritten into something I did not totally understand. Tears escaped my eyes and splashed onto the steering wheel.
I couldn’t stop driving even though I knew I should. If I stopped moving I would be allowing myself to be consumed. I kept going. No slowing down. No pulling over. All that changed was that my steering wheel became wet with tears.
Speeding ahead, all I could think was that I was unharmed. There was no need to look in my rear view mirror at things I had passed. I was no longer that little girl. He simply was no longer. Yes, he was dead and gone. However, he was very alive in this newfound memory.
I was caught in a whirlwind of the past. It was so strong that it was creeping into my present. But physically, I was okay. Safe was all that I could think. Then my thinking transformed into questioning. Safe?
My body and mind were in shock. I needed distance from what had been unearthed. As I parked my car in my parent’s driveway I decided that I would bury this memory once again. Sitting in the driver’s seat in my Honda, I tried to take control. I tried to feel safe. I tried not to think. Actually, I really was trying to numb myself. The only problem with that is eventually your feelings do reemerge despite all the effort and energy you put into an exterior of detachment.
As I closed the door of my Honda, I hoped to close the door of the past. I wanted to leave it. I wanted not to touch it again. I wanted to cling to the safety that I had in not knowing. I didn’t yet understand that a form of safety is found in the center of a storm, but peace is not. I didn’t understand that shutting out this part of my life was also shutting out the potential for peace.