The little girl leads me down a spiraling staircase into subliminal darkness. With each step the air becomes denser, thicker and I find it difficult to breathe but her gentle hand takes mine and makes me feel safe….
It feels like I’m entering a different state of existence. A new world, a new cavity, leaving behind all the claws and imprints they leave on me. Perhaps it is symbolic of entering my grave, I think to myself…
Above me, is the room of mist with its red swirling light at the entrance and it is likened to dying in my mind. (Is this dying?) You leave your belongings and your worldly possessions at the door, you then enter a room, a realm that your unfamiliar with and you feel fear… you feel trepidation…. You step into the room slowly, cautiously. You wonder what lies within this unfamiliar room and once you enter it you meet a comforting, angelic face that helps you along.
Is this what dying feels like?
I wonder again…
We step further into the darkness of an unfamiliar pit.
Am I dead?
Is that what this is?
But just who am I asking these questions to?
No answer comes to meet me and still I step into uncertainty, not being able to stop….
We reach the base of the stairs.
The girl turns a brass door handle, it looks strikingly familiar, it looks like my bedroom door handle. She turns around to look at me and she shoots me a smile of reassurance. Her eyes tell me not to fear and that everything will be okay.
“I brought you here because you’ve forgotten about these pictures, you’ve forgotten these memories. I thought I would remind you“, she says to me.
The room is empty and filled only with picture frames hung upon a bare white wall. ‘A museum of memories’. Each picture looks unfamiliar to me. I leave her hand willingly and I step further into the room.
Its like I’m at an exhibition moving from picture frame to picture frame, marveling at each beautiful one.
There’s a woman in each picture frame that hangs on the wall. Each one is a picture of my mother…..
My youthful mother with my father when they just got married…..
My mother with me, the lost and forgotten memories, I guess….
The day I was born as she held me close to her chest, looking down, smiling at me. Did she really look at me like that, I wondered….
Another picture see’s me spinning in the air while my dad throws me up. My face is lit up with happiness and my mother stands back and watches me, she just watches me, smiling…..
My first day of school and how she fought back her tears. I never saw her cry, I never knew she cried until today…
I stand gazing at a picture frame of her after my father died. The loneliness that she felt, her grief hidden, just for herself.
Each frame exuded emotion more than an image. It was unexplainable. There were no written words, no headers, no footnotes but each picture told me what the moment held.
A single tear falls from my eye as I continue to step along…..
I see my mother lying helpless on the floor, beaten and battered by her husband.
She hid this from me…
She hid these images from me...
I saw frame after frame of her tears, of her pain. My mother was a victim of abuse, like me, that’s why she took one too many sleeping pills.
I look over my shoulder at the first frame and my eyes trace across all the pictures until the current one. I see how my mother had morphed into a woman she had never been, a woman who had lost her smile.
” She never knew” ….
My younger self says to me from the doorway.
I look at the last picture frame of my mother facing her back toward me while I scream in rage at her, blaming her for my pain, all the while she endured her own pain, silently, and I was too blinded, too enraged to see, to feel her pain….
I run my fingers through my hair as I stand there in deep thought, in deep emotion. I trace my fingers on the last picture frame over my mothers face, a teardrop falls from her eye and I catch it with my finger tip and then bring it to my lips. I kiss the frame as I whisper to her image, ” I’m sorry too”…..
To be continued…