Amnesiac Shadows

Amnesiac Shadows

It was a day in mid-September when my love came to rescue me. I’d packed up what few belongings I had and I waited anxiously for my brother to show up so I could toss them in the trunk of his car and ride into the city. My mind blenderized varying emotions as I contemplated my daring escape. I felt anticipation, joy, some trepidation and tremendous anxiety about this daring move. But I was determined to leave the state where my life was decimated, the place where my abuser had gotten away with attempted murder and where my family actively participated in throwing me under the bus to support him and his wretched offspring.

My brother showed up as expected at 2 pm, reminding me of my family’s eagerness to please. I thought about how accommodating they all were to my abuser and his family in the courtroom, at the wedding, in the house where they allowed him to assault me again. My stomach roiled in disgust. I was ready to leave them behind and begin a new chapter.

I settled in the front seat and my brother started the car. As we pulled out of the lot and began the half-hour drive to Boston, he reached over and held my hand. Very softly, he said “I have some news, she had the baby today. It’s a girl. That’s all I know”. I stopped breathing, closed my eyes and felt the tears sting my skin as they flowed freely down my cheeks. I whispered “Okay” and he squeezed my hand again and stepped on the gas pedal.

The ride into the city seemed surreal now. Just as it did after the fire, my head felt like it was trapped inside a tube and I could only hear the echo of our conversations. My brother asked me who this person was and why I was moving 3000 miles away without giving him any notice. He told me he was worried about my decision and I assured him I knew what I was doing. The echos grew louder and softer in waves of amplitude and the blender in my brain continued churning.

As we approached the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, I saw my rescuer standing at the curb holding a single rose. I jumped out of the car before my brother had come to a full stop and we embraced. My lover handed me the rose and said “this is for you”, then turned to my brother to exchange hellos. My brother waited in the lobby as we brought my belongings to the room, OUR room. Once inside, I started sobbing. My love rocked me gently and whispered “I am so sorry” as I cried about the baby.

I freshened up and we met my brother for a drink in the bar. As we sat and drank red wine, my brother grabbed my hand again, looked my love in the eye and said, “She has been through hell.” They both nodded in understanding as I fought back more tears. We finished our drinks, I hugged my brother for a very long time and we said goodbye.

This was the most important day of my life and I cannot remember the date. This huge turning point feels like it belongs to someone else. My brain has cast an “amnesiac shadow” over these memories and I cannot remember this significant date in my life’s history. Every year, I have to check a calendar or look at the hotel receipt that I kept as a remembrance. Thankfully, I also saved the rose, carried it across the country and preserved it pressed between the pages of a book. That rose is symbolic of my love, for the baby, my brother, my mate, our partnership and our life.

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