My earliest memory is of me sitting in my grandfather’s window, leaning against the glass, marvelling at what appeared to be life; the effervescent world outside.
My grandfather was a barber, the front of our house had been converted into his shop. It was positioned on a busy road with a convenient bus stop beside our front door. Sometimes the line of people awaiting the bus became so long that passing cars would slow down to inspect the source of commotion. Others walked by, momentarily glancing and then losing themselves in their strides.
The butchers stood opposite with their delivery truck sometimes parking and obscuring my view of the shop. I watched men carry animal carcasses of lost dreams and a severed lineage, bones and contemporary flesh visible. Their overalls were always embossed with blood-stains in flamboyant mosaics, and their gloves, descendants of a crime scene. I couldn’t see inside the truck, only what the men carried out; it was an animal cemetery.
The surroundings were always chaotic, it felt as if the earth had been liquidised and was being poured into my irises. I absorbed everything in its entirety yet all I could hear was the intensity of my own narrative. It became louder and louder and louder and louder.
I closed my eyes and the earth stood still.
When I opened them, I could not decipher whether I was alive in this present reality. The universe felt like a backdrop to the narrative of my own thoughts. I was not navigating this skeletal space, I was not steering myself. I lifted my hand and pressed against the glass, conscious of the void between myself and the tips of my fingers. I was trapped inside my mind, my body was vacant.
The men closed up their delivery truck. I knelt to gaze inside, still feeling the strain of my kneecaps in my 25-year-old body as I recalled this memory during a session of EMDR.
‘Your body remembers and stores pain, even from all of those years ago,’ she said.