Trigger Warning: Flashbacks, Sexual Abuse
We close our eyes intending to sleep. Instead we see a dimly lit room. We open our eyes and move beneath the covers. We are back in the now, in our bed.
We close our eyes intending to sleep. We see the dimly lit room again. We open our eyes and move beneath the covers. This time, instead of just closing our eyes we tell ourselves a story. We imagine we are getting a massage with essential oils. We imagine warm non-threatening hands rubbing our heels and smell peppermint and orange, non-threatening fingers begin to rub upwards towards our arches. We create the dream of a massage.
The next night we lay down in bed and close our eyes intending to sleep. Instead we see a dimly lit room. We start to tell ourselves the massage story. The massage story fades from our mind. We see the dimly lit room. We ask ourselves where is this? We know this is a living room and we are lying on the couch. We heard and felt movement in the room behind us. We take a deep breath and struggle to wake up. We blink and stretch under the covers before rolling over to a curled on our side position.
The next day we remember what we have acknowledged is a flashback and feel emotional hurt in our chest. We acknowledge we are having flashbacks again. The last time we had flashbacks was a month before Christmas. We are afraid. The last flashback was for a young child. This one feels younger yet. Are we ready to do the remembering again?
We close our eyes intending to sleep. We see the dimly lit room, again. This time we look for more details. The far wall is dark muddy red. There is a lamp on a familiar endtable between two windows. Light shines around a pull-down window covering. The couch we lay on is the same couch we have seen in old photographs. We look for our feet. Instead of taking up the three cushions on the couch we only occupy a small portion of what seems an abnormal length of couch.
There is movement behind us. A man steps around the couch. He is not my dad. Our eyes open and we are breathing funny. We stretch and shift to a curled lying on our side position. We close our eyes and breathe deeply drifting off to sleep.
The next day we remember the flashback. How do we know the man is not our dad? He is not built the same. The face is thinner, although the hair is the same style and color. We recognize the couch from pictures taken from our dad was in Vietnam. We are not a baby, but not child. A toddler maybe. We are not wearing a diaper, but then we know from our baby book that we were potty trained before we were a year old.
The next night we close our eyes intending to sleep. We see the dimly lit room, again. Instead of deciding to wake up we let the flashback continue. We hear movement behind us. A man steps around the couch, not the snuggly man (what this part calls dad). The ‘not dad’ man steps around the couch. He leans over us and smiles funny. We feel his hands on our upper thighs. His hands are big on us. His thumbs rub across smooth flesh and we feel his finger on our rubbery private parts. We hurt. We hear our mommy shout. The man and mommy shout at each other. We go away. Our mommy holds us close and cries. The man who hurt us is gone.