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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Places


That excitement of finding new places or re-finding old ones.
Pieces of me scattered in places I had never been.
I set off in April alone to find those pieces and indeed
they have been found. I knew. Never any doubt or question.

In my brain, I have snapshots of the many places I've been.
Places I have loved and places of tragedy or apathy.
Sacred places and places that have lost their holiness to me.
I have lived and loved and died many times over.

I have always been able to navigate through fairly well even those cities which I've visited after lapses of decades.
I remember how to get around neighborhoods and I can still see houses, apartments, stores, trees.
There are very few maps in my world; and very little need to ask strangers for directions.
An acute sense of direction combined with almost no sense of distance and a marked indifference to time.
Time leaks onto the fabric of the pages of my life,
muddying the words therein. I can still sing the words and I do.
I can read upsidedown with no problem.
I can write with two hands in various combinations of left, right, forward, backwards, rightsideup, upsidedown.
These things I have always taken for granted.
A long list of "Can't everyone?"

Just like the phone numbers from childhood and the addresses I can still recall.
First memory-- learning how to walk. And the revelation of a secret tryst inherent.
I was on the second floor of a house being encouraged by an old Italian man with missing fingers
to walk around the coffee table with no hands to steady me.
That old Italian man turned out to be the father of my step-father.
That is how old the affair of my mother and step-father was.
She was still married to my dad at the time.
From that memory, I understood how the two of them had met.
My mother had happened to hire an old Italian woman as a babysitter.

Odd. Almost everyone with a traumatic brain injury winds up with deficits in memory.
I am not one of those. I tested in the 99th percentile in both working and long-term.
My t.b.i.-er friends all tell me that they can't remember. I can't forget.

I did forget for a time who I was before my brain injury.
I could not describe my self pre-bonk.
And then random memories of my life began to return at random times.
Not anything I'd been counting on or even expected to happen.
More memories to add to an already bulging mental scrapbook.

Oh, I did forget how to cook.
The burnt pot of wilted herbs in a smoky kitchen told me so.
Cooking, like so many other things now, not automatic pilot.

I cannot take much for granted.
No. Having walked with death, I've been catapulted into life.
Vision like a permanent acid trip took some getting used to.
The world was too fast. I got used to my own pace, my own music.
I've "adjusted." Those who say otherwise know not of what they speak.
Yes, today I can describe my character traits before the accident.
Today, that doesn't feel important.

My mother told me when I was moving out, "You can never go home again."
I thought that meant she would not take me back in. I was too traumatized to care.
She had lost me through her abuse years before I was able to leave her house.

I understood a different meaning to not going home again many years later.
That people and places change, that my memories of those people and places
were expected to dull to inaccuracy, that returning does not render magical healing of heartbreak.
She was wrong.
So fundamentally wrong
in ways that I cannot explain and don't want to.

I have gone home again.
To places where I had never been before.


sapphoq healing t.b.i.
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