I am a 16 year old girl. I sit in my room, doors closed, watching the dust slowly dance through the sunbeam coming in my window. I sit in my room because my parents are in the living room. I don’t want them to see me. To have to interact. Interaction never turns out well.
I am pliable in body, mind and soul. Open to what is to come. That endless field of seconds spread out before me. Though wounded, I am determined to survive. Though damaged, I have hope.
And I think I have gotten through the worst of it. The worst of the abuse. The sexual part – the incest part – ended sometime during my 14th year. Now, my eyes are on graduation…freedom. I will fly from the “nest” the minute my high school diploma is in my hand. That is all that has kept me tethered to this place of nightmares, pain and destruction. Another year and I will be gone. After so many years, one more seems both endless and as if it is nothing. Merely the time it takes to blink my eyes. An eternity rolled into a nanosecond.
Like life. Endless. Yet gone in a flash. A lifetime spent in the time it takes to snap my fingers.
I remember that room so well. My bedroom. I can touch it. Feel it. As if I only just left a moment ago. But I haven’t lived there for decades. That place where I listened to albums and cried to the words of songs. Where I hugged my pillow at night and cowered beneath the covers, even in the sweltering heat. Where I trembled in fear and with dread in the darkness, waiting for footsteps that paused briefly outside my door before quietly finding their way to my bed. I remember closing my door against the agony and chaos. But there were no locks on my bedroom door. No places to hide. No safety. No way to keep the monster out.
I stepped from that moment, that long ago moment in time, into today. From 16 to oh-my-god-how-did-I-get-to-be-this-old! In the snap of my fingers. Just. Like. That. Little memory of the worm hole through which I traveled to get from then to now. I blinked. And when my eyes opened, my face was wrinkled and my heart was weary beyond repair. The hourglass that was nearly full only a second before was almost empty of sand.
This hourglass can’t be turned over. No second chances. No do-over. What is done is done. When the final grain has fallen through the narrow neck, there is no way to go backward. No option to turn back the hands of time.
It was only yesterday. That moment I so clearly recall when I was 16. Watching the dust floating through the air. Watching the sand trickle through the hourglass. Snap. But it was endless years ago.
To be fair, I have brief flashes of memories created between then and now. So many rainy days. Too many lonely and dark nights. Struggling to breathe some life into my soul. To restart my heart. Working so hard to justify my right to be alive. To take up space. To have a good experience or two or three.
But the memories are not worth the effort it takes to recall them. There are no gold nuggets among the stones. Nothing worth holding on to. Nothing wonderful or notable. And so, I’ve tossed them all back into the murky water of the past. Left them there. They – those years, those memories – are nothing but a blur. A pain-filled explosion quickly done, that flashes momentarily, leaving an imprint on my retinas, fading to nothingness.
Finished before I ever got started.
A lifetime. Gone in the time it took to snap my fingers.