Through the gate you’ll stumble like a fool. And you’ll gaze in awe at all that stands before you. But it won’t be too long before you spy the next gate.

Whatever could lie beyond that one?

And it hurts. It fucking hurts to claw your way to the next gate, and you think- well, this ought to be the one then. It won’t hurt after.

The last part is so painful, you aren’t sure you can go on. You fall back at times, lose the use of your senses. Sit there in this sort of fuzzy grey cube on the bus, about a million miles away. You try to make sense of the faces but all meaning is lost, all intentions seemingly hostile, so you lose yourself for awhile in the sheets of rain running down the window, and use your reflection as a way to remind yourself you exist.

You know where you have to get off because you have been there before, but not at night, and that cold realisation brings up a wave of panic like a sick sort of electricity. Because as you train your focus from the rain back to reality, you recognise nothing.

That building- was that there? Wasn’t it on the other side?

You are terrified to get off the bus and terrified not to. You don’t know where you are. You are afraid to press the bell to signal the driver to stop. You weigh up the various disasters in your head and choose the one you think will hurt least.

One deep breath, the first today, and you press the bell.

What if people saw I did that?

Stupid girl. Don’t be stupid, girl. And the shame starts to prick the insides of your skin all over. Don’t look at me, I don’t want to be here. The bus stops, violently, and you are worried about falling over and if you did fall over and break your arm you’d fucking force yourself up to your feet grimacing and waving it off with your good arm. People would try to help and you would smile and you would desperately try to make them understand that it is really no bother.

Drag yourself to the fucking hospital wouldn’t you?

Probably walk there.

But you didn’t fall this time, and they didn’t find you out, so you take stock of your surroundings, and you try to will the familiarity into existence because you have been there before, you were there yesterday. And you are so angry with your stupid brain for not holding on to anything. You scratch and you poke sullenly and then aggressively round in there but there is nothing.

Those people over there are probably laughing at you because you don’t know where you are, you probably got off the bus way too early and now you will have to walk miles. You like walking- love it, luckily. But walking when you are late is very different.

The gate is still so far away, but one morning some stray sparkle of light catches your eye in the kitchen and it stirs a memory.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be like this?

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art of trauma
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