Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I couldn't stand another second in my room last night so I decided to take a walk and get some coffee. I've gone by the old house a hundred times since we left, but going past on the bus isn't quite the same as walking by. As it came into view I got a knot in my stomach; a mix of familiarity and wrongness, like when you think you see a friend in a crowd of people, lift your hand in greeting, only to realize when they turn around that it isn't them, but a complete stranger. I see my house and yet it isn't my house. I think I feel my father's eyes on me, peering out from where he sits in The Chair. In my mind he will always be in that chair, playing his destructive games, long after he is finally dead. The grass and shrubs are overgrown, my mother's flowers dead and rotting. Halloween stickers are still on a window, and I can see the rood of my old dollhouse. I take this in quickly, ashamed. Afraid that if I pause the passing cars will know I shouldn't be there, about how we had to flee.
I continue on past the house, the walk I used to make every day to high school. A silent angry 15-year-old with pink hair and safety pins, legs symbolically tied in bondage pants, a padlock dangling from my neck. No wonder therapists always had such a field day with me, my body perpetually speaking for me, words I hadn't yet even formed in my head.
Like that 15-year-old, I still feel stifled by myself and this town, by my family. I have found some words, others I'm still too afraid to let out of my head. Part of me can't wait to get away, somewhere where no one knows me, where I can be who I was supposed to be. But supposed-to-be me died when I was five. The only me I can gather up in scraps and pieces is the me that others create in their gaze and words. The sound of my own voice is strange to me, my reflection ever-changing, inner world that floats along without any footing; fragile and ephemeral.