I have found a moment I cannot explain. When it hits, it feels very similar to being in love; not just being in love, but that specific moment, that gasp when it dawns on you and you suddenly triple in size. You expand, you explode, you become bigger than what your body can hold. And you must let it out. Yes, it feels like that, like your heart going supernova. But I collapse, the steam released as a scream. The reality of the violence you committed does not come crashing in, it comes thrashing out, demanding to be seen. What else can I say? It goes beyond “realize”, the color of my world changes, and dramatically, all at once. I am changed, I am terrified and defined by the terror. There is no more violent an act than what you did, and the egg crates of years of theatrical violence are ripped off and I am left dumbfounded by the act. And so scared I am out of breath, like I’ve been running. And maybe I have been. In my dreams I have been.
This, then, is the flashback. A dawning, the dawn rising over a decimated battled field, your body on repeat a million times over. The violence so huge it re-organizes my genes. I am the fall out. I am the bleeding, corrupted evidence of your brutality. I see your shadow in everything. Every wire, every rope becomes your rope. Every unopened door now holds a dead, decaying body behind it. And that makes me afraid. I push on, I push out. But not through the fear, just into it, wearing it like scuba mask. I breathe in it now, it is my currency.
In this new landscape my footing is uncertain. I must re-learn how to walk, how to carry this in me. What made me anxious in the past now seems quaint, what made me happy before now induces shaking fits of anxiety. At times I cannot even anticipate my reaction. But also, I feel shielded by your death. It is my standard, I bear it before me into any battle. What could surprise me with fear when I am fighting more ferociously than ever before?