I am needing to write this for the sake of maybe finding peace from just putting it in writing. What are you afraid of, I keep asking myself! Up until now, just snakes, lizards, and dying from no ac. Seriously! I’m not a fan of being hot (temperature wise), so no a/c really scares me. In the past, I’ve joked and tell my family that the only reason I’ve always tried to be a good person is for fear of going to purgatory (fire, you know?). But when I was a child I had something scare me and for so many-many years, I have really blocked it out and not thought about it.
For the last six months, it’s been a daily struggle for me because it’s resurfaced. I’ve read that when you need to confront something, it’s a step in the right direction to write it down and mull it over. Even if you don’t do anything with that writing. Well, I have and it hasn’t helped and for the sake of not being on Dr. Phil (I don’t even know if he’s still a thing), or seeking therapy, I wanted to share something that happened to me when I was about seven years old.
I was at home from school on a very cold, gloomy day. My grandmothers house was adjacent to ours on the same property. You literally walked out the front door and took a few steps and you were at grandma’s. It was fantastic! I think I was home sick or something, but grandma was over at our house in the kitchen helping mom cook something wonderful like tamales, or something. My mom asked me to go and get the mail for her.
The mailbox for both addresses was on the front porch of grandma’s place, so you had to walk a distance for a seven year old. I remember heading over there and seeing the old neighbor two houses down, in his back yard and he just stared at me. He usually did, but I didn’t think anything of it. So I walk through my grandma’s house, go out the front door and checked the box. Nothing was in there so I walked down to the edge of the street and saw the mailman was still about a block away and hadn’t made it to our place yet. I also noticed this old man that I’d seen before, across the street and coming up the ways. I decided to run back in, use the bathroom and wait for the mailman.
My hometown back then was awesome. It was a safe place to grow up in and you really didn’t think of stuff happening to kids or anyone for that matter. I didn’t lock the front door but did the bathroom door. After a few minutes, I hear something and someone nearing the bathroom door. I called out thinking it was my grandmother but there was no response. But someone was turning the door knob and kept trying to open the door. A little freaked out? Absolutely!
The creepy old neighbor that I didn’t know, and the other older (limping) man walking down the street, came to mind. I just knew it had to be one of them. Being a seven year old, this was terrifying! Especially knowing that my mom and grandmother couldn’t hear me scream. It was terrifying! There I sat huddled in a corner crying, gasping, and trying to make them go away and hoping they wouldn’t be able to open the door. When I finally thought of screaming, it’s when I heard the front door slam. Sitting there for what seemed like forever but was probably more like 10 minutes crying, I got enough courage to get out. Reaching the front door, I ran through the yard so I wouldn’t see the creepy neighbor in the other direction. When I reached the front door, my mom and grandma were horrified by my screams.
All I remember next was my mom still trying to console me. She had called my dad and he’d come home from work. He asked me what happened and he left the house. He was going to try to find the man responsible. I’m not sure if they called the police.
So why now, fifty two years later, do I keep thinking of this incident? All I can think is that we are living in a small town that reminds me a lot of what my hometown was like back then. It has been winter, gloomy/cold. We are renting this beautiful 100 year old home that I love, but everyday for the past five months while living here and as I head to the back bathroom, I think of that incident.
What are you afraid of?
This weighs heavily on my mind and I wish my momma was still here. She would listen and she would share what she remembered of that day. I’m afraid of going to the bathroom and sometimes of being alone in this house. I’ve never been afraid of being alone. How ridiculous is this? How can something that happened so long ago, and you’d forgotten it, come back to haunt you so many years later? I’m so thankful that I wasn’t molested, I wasn’t harmed physically. But this mental experience is frightening even after all these years.
Here in Mayberry, it’s quiet. People walk everywhere, everyone knows everybody and nothing ever happens. Perhaps that along with the gloomy/cold days is just allowing a bad experience to resurface so I can deal with it. ???
Tags: childhood experiences, trauma