Forgive the impromptu nature of this post. Expect less polish.
I had a therapy appointment today. I didn’t make it. My car isn’t functioning properly, and I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do about it at this moment. I’m mostly just in pain, angry, alone and I had no one to speak to so I decided I would write a second blog post this week.
My therapy appointment was going to be the first time in a month that I’ve had an actual conversation with another adult human being, face to face. I talk to my daughter, of course, and I talk to other people, but none of that is a conversation. It’s functional or formulaic.
“How are you?”
“What would you like to eat?”
“Ice cream with cookies, frosting and a carrot.”
“That’s not a dinner.”
“Fine, Chinese food.”
“You ask me for Chinese food every day.”
“I like Chinese food…”
When I met my wife, years and years ago now, we spent a full week talking. We couldn’t shut up. There was something about the intellectual stimulation, the exchange of experiences, the high minded ideas, the wishes, the feelings… that kept us engaged. We always talked a lot. Maybe too much.
After she died I stopped talking to anyone for a long time. I didn’t have an actual conversation with anyone for almost a solid year. I spoke, I didn’t talk. It wasn’t a vow of silence so much as a refusal to be present.
I had plans to talk to my therapist about something that I had on my mind, but I suppose now is as good a time as any to discuss it.
The smell of fear, for me, is often various body odors.
When I was a child, six or seven, I used to be baby sat by a woman and her husband. We will call her Sharon, she was very overweight. To the point that she could hardly bathe, and she really never moved. Not in any serious way, at least. If she did move it was with the assistance of a cane and only because she absolutely had to. She had an odor about her that was very distinctive. Unfortunately, that odor is seared into my memory.
I would beg not to be taken to her house, but Sharon wasn’t the problem.
Her husband was.
Sharon’s house smelled like Sharon. Yesterday I smelled some enchiladas that smelled like Sharon. I have an unfortunately accurate memory. Scent memory is even more accurate for me, visceral in fact.
I usually don’t think about such things because… it’s painful.
I was made to undress and take baths that I didn’t want to take by her husband. She never really seemed to notice or care. The apartment was small, and Sharon must have been able to see the bathroom door, but not into the bathroom. She never got up. She never came in. She never stopped what was happening.
Her husband, whose name I don’t recall, would cover his lap with a towel as he instructed me to bathe and watched as I performed each step. I avoided looking at him and protested, often citing recent baths and that none of my other baby sitters would make me take a bath. It’s at this point that I decline to recite the remainder of my experiences.
Nonetheless, I was a child and what did I know? Well, I knew I didn’t want to and I know in retrospect how ugly and wrong it all was. I remember his voice being low and quiet and threatening. I remember that he died in that bathroom. And I remember the smell of the woman that never helped me.
I sincerely hate having to remember things I don’t want to remember. With a past so full of awfulness I don’t know what I’m even supposed to do. What I’m supposed to feel like. I still haven’t gotten a call back on a job, not one. I don’t have the money to fix my car. I don’t want to feel anything right now. So, I guess I’ll send another useless rant out into the ether. For all the good it does.