I don’t remember my feet being able to touch the floor. They dangled off the bed. I don’t remember what I was wearing. Or even how I got there.
But I remember the room being black. Not just because the curtains were shut, but because the room was painted black. It smelt dark and damp.
And it hurt.
I was little. Very little. And he wasn’t.
I wanted to be somewhere else. But where? I wanted to be rescued. But by who? I wanted out…out…out. But where was out?
As I catch glimpses of it all…it horrifies me. Not because it was me. But because I know what 4 looks like now. It’s small. It’s innocent. It’s learning. It’s curious.
It should have grazed knees and tantrums. It should have discussions about not wanting to eat broad beans. It should pick its nose and flick it. It should laugh and cry and be comforted and cuddled. It should be at kindy. It should be reading story books and looking at pictures. It should be dressing up and playing dolly’s. It should be imagining fairies and candy. It should be rolling around on floor with its dog. It should be yelling at the birds to come back. It should be chasing butterflies. It should be drawing pictures and baking cakes with Nan. It should be tired and exhausted after a day of following Grandad around.
It shouldn’t be having nightmares. It shouldn’t be panicked and scared. It shouldn’t be hiding under the bed. It shouldn’t be holding its head because it hurts. It shouldn’t be anticipating someone’s next move. It shouldn’t be pissing its pants in fear. It shouldn’t be trying to pacify its elders. It shouldn’t be shaking. It shouldn’t be crying. It shouldn’t be scared of new people in case they die. It shouldn’t worry. It shouldn’t…it just shouldn’t.
But it did.