I left my body once. An out of body experience. I floated upward and hovered about 20 or 30 feet in the air above my physical body. Under a nearly full moonlit sky, with hazy clouds, I saw myself down below for a moment, and then I sortof disappeared from all of it, as if in a dream state. It was quiet. Calm.
I was 19 years old on that horrific night. A stranger came too close and stole part of my mind, my body, and my spirit. Danger showed up out of nowhere. Fast. Before I knew it, or could do anything about it, I was in real trouble with no real way out. Weighing about 100 lbs then, I was so small, but I had such fight in me.
One night, after working, a few people thought it would be cool to hang out after work. I had gotten to be semi friends with some of them, so I thought I'd join. Down a little country road there was a pull off into a field. Woods to one side and a field on the other. They had built a fire. We sat around talking, laughing, having a beer. We weren't there long. I don't really remember the hanging out part of it in any detail. It's been blocked, I suppose. Not important. I wish what followed could have been equally blocked. But I guess it's these things that stay with us to make us who we are. That's the best I can make of it. After a little bit, an hour or so, we were tired and ready to go. Here's where my memory gets really clear. They weren't worried about the fire. They weren't going to put it out. They were just going to leave. I watched one car make its way down the road. Then another. I, being the earth loving, tree hugging person that I was born to be and have been since very birth, could not just leave a blazing fire. I used someones cooler with water from melted ice to soak the fire. As it sizzled and sputtered out, so did the tail lights down the dusty, dark, country road. I was getting in my car, but I knew it was too late. Somehow, in an instant, I knew. I knew those fading tail lights were taking the others home, but I would never go home. If I did make it home, I would never be the same person.
The very moment that I knew I was in trouble I fought. I yelled and cussed. I twisted and strained to get away. And somehow, for a second, I did break away. I fell to the ground, dug my hands in the dirt, crawled and clawed to find the way out of this terror. As I made it barely back to my feet there was a grip around my leg. I was dragged back. With a stronghold and threats of a gun, of being killed if I didn't do as I was told, breathless, the fighting eventually turned to begging. Begging to be let go. Pleading that I had to go home. I started to see those woods. I started to see my bruised, lifeless body lying there. I saw what it would be like for my mom when she would be with a search crew, and I would be discovered there. The terror ensued and swallowed me up. It was then that I floated out of my own body. It was then that fight, quite literally, turned to flight. I left my mind. My mind left? I was there for the whole thing, but I wasn't. I have no time frame here for how long this lasted. A few moments? An eternity.
I heard, "Go on. Get out of here." That's when I snapped back. That's when my mind reconnected with my body. I leaped in my car, still not believing that I might actually get out of there. I locked the doors, started it up, and finally it was my tail lights going down the road. Finding my way back to the main road. I drove under that night sky. What came from my lungs and my mouth still make me wince. As I drove, I screamed and howled and screamed the most nightmarish, unearthly, inhuman, primal sounds. I would take a breath, and the fear and sorrow and anguish and the horror would pour out once more. Over and over and over. For several miles I gripped the steering wheel, with white knuckles, shaking and bruised, and just screamed.
As I was finally pulling into my driveway I choked and swallowed hard to pull myself together. I silently went in the house. I went to the side of my moms bed and whispered to her that I had to tell her something. Then hysteria again. She consoled me the best she could and I cried and our hearts broke together.
Police were called. Charges were filed. They took photos of the bruises I endured from being gripped so tightly around my arms, my wrists, my legs, of the scratches from being drug across the ground. A rape kit would show nothing because I had scoured and soaped and alcohol-ed my way clean of it all. But it's a man's world. A white man's world. I found out that he had other prior, similar charges. Some against children, even. Nothing ever came of it in my favor. Or theirs.
A small, quite, soft spoken woman who worked in the courthouse at the time, pulled me to the side one day. She told me she had stayed late after work one day, during all of this, and no one knew she was there. On the other side of the partition she overheard the head detective, another cop, and the attorneys saying they couldn't let "him" be prosecuted; it would ruin his life. I know they can't all be bad, but I don't much like cops and detectives and lawyers.
My mom and brother were aces through this. I had their love and support. Strong shoulders to lean on.
As time went on, for years, I let pieces of it go. I didn't think about it anymore. I wasn't on high alert all the time. But for the past couple of weeks the thoughts and memories are back. Frequently. I don't sit with those thoughts long. I roll them around like a smooth stone in my hand before giving it a toss back. Time does that, ya know? Smoothes out the rough edges.
Here's what I think, and it just occurred to me actually, as to why the thought of it all has come back. Even in weird dreams. I usually don't remember dreams. I do have a brief recollection of one from the other night. In fragments as they often are. An intruder of some sort. A man. I have my gun. Why are there old shell casings in the chamber? I have to get those out. Hurry. Panic. Where are my bullets? Yes. Found them. Load it quickly. Aim. Fire. I don't know who it was, but they caught a bullet and the panic was over.
Back to what I think. This is so crazy and I do not know the rhyme or reason of it. And I will make it quick. Right before I bought my house we lived in a housing project. Someone moved in across the street and when I saw the size and build of him I knew. I didn't even have to see a face. I nearly threw up. My arms ached. My chest pounded. I broke out in a sweat. Clammy. Cold with shivers. It was him. (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT SHIT? I couldn't either.) For maybe a month I didn't sleep well. I had nightmares. I put furniture in front of the already bolt-locked door at night when my kids were asleep and then I would clear the doorway again before they would wake. During this time, I found a way to buy our current home and we moved. Flight. Now, a little over eight years later, we are moving again. It must be conjuring something in my sub-conscience. It's the only thing I can think of.
I survived it. I still survive it. When I told someone about this story, she told me that the out of body thing was perhaps God holding me as a way for me to escape a reality that I couldn't handle... I just can't buy that. At first I did. I liked the beauty of such a thought. But not now. Maybe it was. I don't know. People say God allows things to happen so that good can come from the bad. I assure you, no good came from this. Not that I can tell. I haven't helped anyone. But those are my own demons, I guess.
Energy. Right now I debate Energy and God in my mind. And so I write this and send it out through energy to anyone out there. I imagine it like holding the whole dandelion, giving a blow, and sending all of its shimmery pieces to glide on the wind and land softly somewhere. Somewhere else. But not here anymore. And just as the thought of God holding you through a nightmare makes some feel better. The thought of the Universe and Good Energy and Light make me feel better. Things in the Universe just happen. I don't remember anyone saying the Universe allows good and bad to happen. Maybe I'm a little nuts? Perhaps. Maybe all of my mind didn't ever come back when it left my body that night. Who knows?
When I was way younger it proved true that if I wrote something down, it would leave me. I'm writing this and hoping it will leave. I'm going to be selfish here and say this one's for me. I can't imagine this would help or enlighten anyone else.
Anyway, I still see and appreciate and hold close the small, and big, and beautiful, and kind, and generous, and good things that are all intertwined through life. I'm passionate about the wrongs. I have to. Otherwise, what did I survive it all for.
41 now and still trying to figure this life thing out.
I don't like to get deep into my brain much. It can be maddening. No, I would rather listen to my kids talk and laugh. Zone out on a sky. Watch birds fly with outstretched wings. Snuggle up with one of my dogs, or all three of them. Smell some flowers. Grow a garden. Go barefoot. Get lost in a book. Watch the sun come up from my porch. Have the wind in my face and sun on my skin. A glass of iced tea. Hugs from my family. Take a cool shower after a hot day and get in a bed with fresh, clean sheets. Happy kids. Love. Peace. And all that good stuff.
Give me the little things, man. While I let go of the big...
ps It's all those little things that are really the great, big, huge things. The things that matter.
Always put one foot in front of the other. Breathe in and breathe out. Find the things that matter and thrive and flourish on them. Maybe blow a dandelion. Survive.