I’m almost 29 years old now, and I’m afraid of the night.

It blows my mind that at 29 years old, there are still things I don’t know about the inside of my brain. You’d think, knowing myself as long as I have, and as well as I do, that I’d get it by now. But I don’t.

Tonight I had a new memory. Just a small flash, a fragment of mental isolation that was accidently uncovered. I was there, just a few hours ago. And no amount of sweet tea vodka or pot makes it dissipate completely.

I kept my eyes open. I never was one to hide under the blankets. If Death was coming, I’d stare him down.

He rattled my bedroom door. It was the door that led to the side yard. The one that was closest to the rope swing, during the summers we had the rope swing. It was surrounded by brick, and beautiful, in a tragic, southern-gothic sort of way. Dying spanish moss clinging in scraps to a faded white and red faux barn awning.

It was night. I was too hot, but I slept too hot until Nathan Classic and I started to work on that in 2009. I remember the fishbowl was shaped like a globe, and Grandma Carrie was sleeping on the couch across from the door. Did she hear him try to come in that door? Was she awake?

I remember holding my breath. Even now, I can’t remember where the kids were.

And that’s it. Nothing graphic, or edited for general viewing, or anything dire. Yet I sit up all night, hearing a rattle, seeing a figure outside the door, glass in hand, the scent of Camel cigarettes lingering under the door frame like yellow fog in London. The memory seeps into my apartment and crawls along the walls, surrounding me slowly, sucking the air from my lungs and the sense from my mind. I’m alone in the dark, jumping at the reflection in my glasses.

I have to sleep. I’m so tired. But I kept hearing the door. Did he call my name?

Once, in the airport going back from LA, my dad canceled the tickets. He’d thought he would’ve won custody that summer in court, and so he’d registered us for school and canceled the flights home. We were in the airport, my mom holding my brother, Allison holding her other hand, and me right behind. We were running for the plane, which they were holding for us. The hallway was bright, with shiny white tiles that made my eyes sting a bit if I looked too closely. Mom was calling me to hurry, and Jim yelled my name. I remember how the world stopped. My mother yelled at me, and in her voice I could hear that I looked afraid. We made it to the plane, but even now, I hear him yell my name and I freeze.

I don’t know if I feel more self-pity or intense annoyance at my irrational fears. It’s a pretty close call.

I ate 5 blueberry muffins today, and I’m not sorry.

This morning and afternoon were really productive. And it only took 10 minutes before I could understand when and where I was, and I didn’t even need my inhaler. As far as flashbacks with new memories go, I pretty much win. And it’s highly likely that I’ll get up tomorrow and be a person. At least in the evening. So I’m gonna call out pity party tonight. I’m going to feel the grief and loss at my restless childhood nights. I’ll allow the waves of fury that grip me, pulling me out into the sea of abandonment and confusion that is incest. And I’ll cough and sputter and flail my way back to shore, where I’ll pass out and get sand stuck all over, and the salt water will dry in the sunrise and I’ll be sticky and gross. I’ll feel all the dirty-abused-neglected-unwanted-misused feelings that I imagine discarded dolls feel; because wasn’t that my role, anyway?

Of course, it’s not always that bad. And I know it. And it does get better, which I also know. But tonight it sucks. Tonight I feel bad. And I’m allowed, damnit.

Every once in a while, it does me good to walk in the rain.

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