part twenty-six

…Chrissy wasn’t aware of anyone else. All she knew was that it was dark where she was and there was a strip of light down by her feet. Every now and then she saw what looked like shadows crossing in front of the light and while she felt like she was screaming “Let me out! Let me out!”, now she is not sure if she actually uttered a sound. The dark was scary and Chrissy didn’t know why she was there again. She wasn’t sure how she knew that the shadows were from the man walking back and forth in front of the place she was in but, she knew it was him. Her stomach felt as if it took up too much space and made it hard to breathe. Chrissy was afraid. Very. Afraid. She wanted to bang on the walls so someone would help her but fear, or rope (she’s not sure now), stopped her. It was never a good thing to get too much attention. Quiet was always better but it sounded so loud inside the closet.

For years I dreamed of being enclosed in a small space with a strip of light at the bottom of what I thought was a door. I could see the shadows of feet passing by the light. The dream woke me up more nights than I can count for most of my childhood. When I was 13, I was sitting at the table eating breakfast when my dad asked me what was wrong. I told him about this dream and how it often woke me up in the night. He literally froze in his seat. He slowly asked me a question I’ve never forgotten. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you that the guy your mom was with before me would lock you in the closet whenever she left the house?” I shook my head no and don’t remember anything else about the day or the conversation, for that matter. I do know that I never had the dream again…until many years later when Chrissy introduced herself. 

to be continued


9 responses to this post.

  1. For reasons I probably need to think about, “It was never a good thing to get too much attention,” punched me right in the gut.

    It is a strange and wonderful thing how sometimes, just a single sentence that “interprets” a recurring dream is enough to give that dream freedom, and make way for the next one.


  2. “Quiet was always better” resonated somewhat with me, but for different reasons than my own childhood. As a parent, I am unusually sensitive to repetitive noise; things like tapping or clicking, or similar sounds can literally make me physically uncomfortable. Accordingly, I haven’t much patience with my children making such noises, particularly in small spaces like a vehicle. I am haunted by the time in the car when my then-3 year old said with solemn demeanor, ” SSSSSSSSSsssshhhh, Bruhvy… Mommy wikes it qui–et.”


  3. I have had nightmares in the last year where someone was chasing me into a small space that I thought was a closet upon awakening. Later I dreamed that it was my father. Now… a few weeks ago I had a horrible flashback in which I was hysterical and actually trying to get into the closet. I don’t know how you made it, Traci. I don’t know how any of us did.

    “Didn’t anyone ever tell you that the guy your mom was with before me would lock you in the closet whenever she left the house?” I’m glad you remembered that he told you that. I bet that piece helped. Sometimes I think I must be making everything up. ALL OF IT. And then some little piece comes from somewhere outside of myself or I think of some memory that I never needed to question that relates to the truth. I’m grateful for every piece. Even the old scars on my arms. When I started doing that again and the whole situation felt so familiar, I thought I was just being a great big drama queen… but the old scars were there to remind me that it HAD happened before. I recorded the history of my feelings on my body. I wonder if I knew I would need it someday.

    Traci, you are so incredibly brave. You are astonishing. I’m glad you’re my friend.


  4. Traci, I will return here later and leave a comment. I’m sort of struggling with how to word it. I had a rough night (not from this, but from my physical ills), and my head is not working as well as it should. This is a powerful post.


  5. I wrote about recurring dreams, too. If you keep having the same dream it’s always worth investigating what its meaning could be or what it could be associated with.


  6. I’m back. I’m still struggling with what I want to say. I think this is close.

    Your story and its message is important, both for you and for others, and your writing is awesome. I did not have the kind of experiences you did, and I’m embarrassed at the flood of relief I feel for that.

    I had a one-time event when I was targeted by a family friend who then disappeared, and even that is difficult at times. It is something I no longer carry around in my basket of burdens; I was able to finish it and release it years ago, fortunately. But there are raw memories left with me during the years I worked as a psychotherapist, memories that I absorbed from clients whom I held while they relived their own nightmares. Your story is told with such clarity and intensity that I wish I could take it back to those clients to help them, to let them use your imagery to open their own pasts and allow them to begin the release. I’d love to see your story published as an aid for others who are still clinging to the pain by not acknowledging it.

    You’re amazing, girl. You’re awesomely amazing.


  7. “It was never a good thing to get too much attention.”

    This statement vocalizes something that I have subconsciously wrestled with my entire life, without being able to put my finger on it. You have brought it out into the daylight; thank you.


  8. I’ve read a number of your posts today and have taken in a lot of your history. You’ve said a number of things that really struck me; one in particular I have a question(which could lead to a couple of questions) about but I am unsure if the comments is a good place to ask it?


  9. At one point (and I don’t remember which post it was in, I’ve jumped around a bit)you made a reference to people telling you that you had said or done things that you didn’t believe that you did, or didn’t remember doing. Was that an abusive person trying to play mind games with you(and you really didn’t say/do those things), or was it because of Tobey or Chrissy?


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