The Body Remembers
Her head is a spaceship. Lift-off involuntary. Escaping backwards in time, without matter. Matter meaning skull and bones. Flesh and eyeball. Matter meaning mattering at all whether she makes sense of it.
Memory awakens with each wave of molecular displacement …
Her head rings. A constant sibilance of high frequency by Other. By the presence that operates the spaceship. That controls lift off and keeps her in a heightened state off-kilter. Not quite present. Not quite thoroughly engaged with daily acts of the mundane.
The sound is too loud for this world. It muffles reality. She watches people talking but their voices are distant. Undecipherable. People with accents particularly challenging, fine screeching in the belljar of her head chopping up the already foreign-sounding syllables, rendering them incoherent. She needs cat ears. Flaps solidly facing the tone of the speaker, capturing their meaning and tunnelling it into her ear canal before it garbles past her into the uncapturable ether.
In time, the wave patterns that fuelled lift-off begin to formulate into meaning. Meaning she is awake to, but meaning too big for her to shoulder all at once. Hence its subtle permeability. Its brilliant romance with physics – atoms spinning backwards in time, deliberately plucking information from her very tissue. This memory spaceship is commandeered by cellular knowledge far surpassing her ability to comprehend. Ancient universal machinations have re-set her course, determined that her stay on earth will not end unconsciously. No matter how painful re-entry will be.
Establishing flight has taken weeks. Weeks of steady incline into complex realms within her cranial container until she is comfortable with the unfamiliar heights. She’s afraid of heights. Terrified. Trauma accompanies her on heights. This ascent therefore has been incrementally, imperceptibly slow and steady. No further adjustment is needed.
It is here that the intention of the ship’s compass becomes faintly clear. The molecular movement sweeps downward, capturing voice and leaking into heart. Heart expands, pumping the octane of body memory through veins. Her skin is bloated with it. Muscle taut with it. Heart beat, breath, infested with it. Anger is born quickly from it. Invading her. Owning every waking second and she is awake every second. Even during the impoverished moments she is allotted sleep her sleep is alert to it. The tension, a ligament stretched to its unbearable limit before snapping.
This continues for days. She’s frantic with it. Cannot bear to contain it. Yet she has no choice. It is hers. A squalling, torrential birth of suppressed rage. Rage she has never felt, did not know she owned. But owning it, must take responsibility for. Must hold it like an epileptic child until its demon froth is expelled. Hold it until the epicentre cracks. Until she can glimpse into the molten pain raging behind its locked cage. Until the lick of flame that hisses through the splinter of insight catches and, like a trail of gasoline, ignites. Until she sees from the eye of the conflagration.
Betrayal stacked upon betrayal like Russian dolls, an earlier version hidden under the head of the next, till the tiny child is exposed at the bottom. A rotting living legacy of betrayal. Betrayal rabid in its excess.
Her spaceship engineer tunes down the frequency. Her body must recover equilibrium to prepare for re-entry: witnessing the seed that disabled her natural function to protect her self. Her awakening is to be borne in stages; too much speed will result in combustion. For now the body weeps. Gouging pits of weeping. Piercing shards of weeping. Spent weeping. Regurgitated weeping. Snot weeping. Sweat weeping. Blood weeping. Finally weeping.
The onslaught subsides when the pattern of repetition is laid bare. The ringing in her ears, constant companion of injury, remains. Recovery will be protracted. She has no idea how long this will take, how much pain will surface. She will train her body like a fighter preparing for the next blow, the next insight. She will endure. She will live.
Healing, she has discovered, requires magnificent fortitude.