Memories are not always friends.
Some haunt you late at night when all is quiet and seemingly fine. I am thankful that such memories no longer control my life. It does, however, make me sad that so many others are not as lucky.
This is included in a chapter in my book, Informally Educated. This is one of my many attempts to show, not tell, those who did not experience such things, the kinds of memories the abused live with all their lives.
Just before this I described waking up with no memories of what had happened the night before. Why was I sleeping in a puddle of my own blood and why was it dried all over my face? I would learn later that I had been smacking while I was eating, which apparently was an acceptable reason to beat me with a wooden chair. Luckily the chair died before I did.
Remember the blankie you had as a child or the stuffed animal? My pillow was as close as I got.
I’ve only recently remembered that I slept on that pillow and mattress for many years to come. To pull off a pillowcase or sheet and see the blood stains was to relive what had happened. To watch over the years as others joined them taught me to not make those same mistakes again. My pillow was my first attempt at writing, written there in my blood were the stories of the longest nights of my life and the only tangible proof that they were not merely nightmares. I can remember sleeping on that pillow over the years, sometimes right after a move without a pillowcase on it. For about a year, it revolted me. After a time as stains and stories continue to be written in my blood, that pillow became a comfort.