Moments are fleeting, and ever-changing. We find bits and pieces of nothing and everything within the shattered fragments of our subconscious. As children, we remember everything.
Eyes act as recorders with immaculate lenses that capture volumes without the slightest realization.
Then, as time slowly passes, like mountains, memories erode, rounding out the sharper edges, and with it, layers of dust,
left to dance in waves on the currents of the atmosphere – and finally into nothing.
As we grow, to fill the gaps in our altered reality, we absorb the words of others,
let them seep deep into our pores and in through our ears – airways to our psyche – allow them to add stitches into our holes.
We let them redefine our yards of memories that had once been painstakingly knit together day by day – irreversible second by irreversible second.
When I was younger, I enjoyed the touch of my father’s hand, yet I abhorred it at the same time.
I would close my eyes, in what others would call a catlike fashion, and lean into his touch, hungrily feeding on the slightest inkling of physical touch – of affection – he had to offer.
I could feel my bones shiver whenever it came. I’d never be able to forget it.
The feeling of his large and rough hand on my head, tousling my hair – the mere feeling of his joints and the pressure from the tips of his fingers as they closed in on that tiny,
fragile little skull, pressing and pressing –
In other moments, recorded and stashed away beneath piles and piles of mind-numbing experiences, his hand could be found at a distance,
taking little of the recorded frames yet somehow appearing much, much larger in my mind’s eye.
It would tremble in its own grip, skin whitening and reddening as colourful spots gushing out from the folds of his skin. The hand would fly out, fast and ruthless.
His knuckles would come flying in a flash, disappearing behind a sudden vision of nothing.
It was a very particular type of void all dressed in white, where the rest of reality would pass in a blur of clashing senses in the far-off distance.
The screams inside would harmonize with the screams on the outside and those of the distant past, forming a powerful trinity,
an off-key symphony that played like an orchestra gone terribly wrong.
In the winds, various visions would melt together, juxtaposing each other as my eye sockets seemed to empty out their insides, leaving behind vacant stares into the distant nothings,
only vaguely aware of the bustling life outside.
A paralyzing fear taught me at a young age to play dead when in danger. Possums survived with long lives thanks to their inane ability to freeze.
They escaped danger by riding out the wave with patience and terror. Never look up; never move a muscle; never respond until asked. Play possum. Play dead.
Now, older and infinitely more bitter in my mind, though not quite certain if I should be considered wise or traumatized, I question myself.
I also question the world for its lackluster justifications. I no longer enjoy the typical pats on the head. I don’t like being touched.
Those who only know the open surface should not inquire for the hidden shell, and so, I throw a question out to the world in this instant: why?
Why is it that children must love their parents?
Why do I see flashes of terror behind the membrane of my eyelids as I lean into the cold touch of his hands, be it out of habit or subconscious obligation, that tousle my hair carelessly,
pressing ever so lightly – as if crushing my skull down to dusty particles on the floor where I sat.
Why do these memories appear and disappear endlessly, like an old roll of film playing continuously, if only to torture me?
I hate it, abhor it – the shivers feel like deathly icicles piercing my body, reaching my core and pricking the marrow of my bones with their freeing touch.
Adults like to believe only children crave physical affection from their parents, and that once grown, they won’t need it anymore.
What they crave then is independence, freedom; the kind their loving parents can no longer provide them.
Their child’s world has broadened to one that is beyond the influence their protection can offer.
But for an abnormal creature like me, none of it applies.
It is not that I have grown.
It doesn’t matter that my eyes can see more of the world now that I am 60cm taller,
nor does it mean more that I have the potential to fly off to some foreign land full of new opportunities because I have breathed in oxygen for long enough that I can afford a job and
a passport. The world seems smaller than ever, and the horizon feels cold, but it doesn’t even register because there has never been a pair of arms to teach me what it was to be warm.
It is that my body now cringes away from his touch. The system has programmed an immediate defense protocol against him. The movie is still playing. It never stopped.
Please don’t touch me.
Adults like to make growing children think like them.
Many believe in the notion of owing love of the people who brought them into the world, even if this life has given them more pains than joys.
Who said it wasn’t a mistake? Who said you had to enjoy life? Who signed us up for this game without our consent? Who dealt these cards? Why must there be a loser and a winner?
The spoils of war aren’t worth the sacrifices at all. The equation just doesn’t make sense, and maybe, to some of us, it never will.