Anatomy of a Flashback – Christine E. Ray

the memory is an old one
I am 16
maybe 17
deeply asleep in my bedroom
my sanctuary
someone is touching me
caressing my body
kissing my mouth
I cannot open my eyes
I cannot move at all
I fight against the sleep
holding me in a vice
panicked
trying to rouse myself
as I am being touched
without my consent
it is my girlfriend
trying to wake me up
from a deep sleep
not wanting to shake me
violently
she has already tried
calling my name
shaking my shoulder
in a moment of Sleeping Beauty
romanticism
she has decided to wake me with a kiss
not realizing how it would panic me
trigger me
because I rarely speak of such things
as I reclined yesterday
full of therapeutic needles
this old memory returns
in all its technicolor glory
the sensations on my skin
my mouth
my helplessness
my panic
at being unable to shake off sleep
unable to set boundaries
unable to stop this invasion
I remind myself over and over again
that I am safe now
I am safe
as I calm my breathing
and fight or flight recedes
new knowledge with remarkable clarity
and the crystal ring of truth
rises up from the pensieve of memory
I suddenly understand why I was so upset
with my girlfriend that long-ago day
a truth my psyche had been blocking unfolds
this was not the first time
that this had happened to me
this was not the first invasion
staged while I slept

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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