THIS is me…(7)

By: Sarah Ann Walker

“Jesus, Suzanne. You just couldn't wake up and stop all THAT insanity, could you?”

Ooops, sorry.



Am I awake? Honest to god, I can't figure out what's happening to me. I can hear people talking all the time. I hear that guy talking nonstop, but I'm just so cold and dark and alone.

I can't understand what's happening here. I can't even figure out what I'm doing here. But I feel completely trapped.

It's like I'm in a little crawl space, or maybe in a cave somewhere. It's like I'm a little girl hiding in the dark again, in the little hidden broom closet past the guest bedrooms.

Oh! I remember my hiding spot. I remember staying in there when I was young when my mother would be calling out my name for my punishments.

Ugh, I remember the smell of the closet where I hid. It was so gross in my little girl memory. It was like I was surrounded by lemons AND alcohol or bleach, or something chemical like that. It always smelled so potent and strong in the space where I hid. God, the smell used to burn my eyes and nose when I was little.

The smell would sometimes even stick to my clothes and hair. Sometimes, after leaving my hidden closet I could smell that awful closet stench in my nose for a while, even after I changed my clothes and sprayed perfume on my hair. I know I didn't actually smell like lemons and alcohol anymore, but I still smelled it in my nose afterward when I was finally free. It was such a gross smell for me. It used to make me gag, even hours after I left the closet.

God, I remember the little hidden broom closet where I hid. My mother would always pass the little closet on her way to our side of the upstairs; the side with our bedrooms. But sometimes she'd wait there in front of the door, maybe just thinking or waiting for me to surface. I don't actually know why she would just wait there, but she always did.

Maybe she would wait in the hallway for me to show up suddenly because I stupidly thought she'd stopped looking for me... But I never thought that. I always knew she was still looking for me, and I never came out. I was never as stupid as she said I was.

I remember sometimes hearing her talk to herself. I remember holding my breath while waiting, almost crying with my fear because I didn't want her to find me. I remember the bad things she would say about me when she didn't know I was in the little closet listening. I remember all her bad words about me, all the time.

And I remember learning what some of those bad words meant afterwards. I used to try to remember what she called me when she was angry, so I could find out later what the words actually meant. I remember so many bad words from my mother, all the time.

It was so sad for me to finally understand the words she called me, especially when I knew they weren't true. I knew I wasn't what she called me, and I knew I didn't do what she said I did. But she would still mumble the bad words about me to herself while I waited in silence, desperate to get free of the stinky, hidden, little broom closet on the guest side of the upstairs.

For years, I remember desperately trying to wait her out. I remember counting for so long, sometimes even counting all the way to five thousand until she stopped waiting for me. I remember once even counting to ten thousand until I stopped hearing her call my name- I was really scared that day. That day she was extra angry at me for hiding, and she said lots and lots of bad words about me that weren't true.

And sometimes even my father would call for me when my mother was very angry at me. But again, I just held my breath and waited for him to stop calling for me as well. I never came out of the closet for my father. And I NEVER came out for my mother when she was angry with me.

After a long time, they usually gave up looking for me. Usually, they went away. Usually, I could wait them both out. Usually, if I was real quiet, counting silently in my head, crying silently in the dark, my parents would go away eventually.

Usually, if I was really quiet they would stop looking for me, and I would be safe for a while. Safe from the punishments and safe from all the bad words.

It's funny that I was so afraid of her back then because my mother was just so small. She was so skinny all the time; it's like she stopped growing at 12 years old or something. Actually, I remember my mother was always sickly skinny.

Why was I so afraid of her when I was little? Huh. It's kind of weird now, because I think I probably out-weighed her adult body when I was 12 years old myself.