The book A Prisoner by No Crime of My Own has been professionally edited and will be published this year. To pique interest, I will share tidbits from the manuscript with you each Tuesday.
Chapter 25 | Another Voice in the Storm
Healing happens in the most obtrusive ways. You never know when to expect it. It’s like a thief in the night, something you can’t anticipate the arrival of.
I was preparing for a nice steamy hot Epson salt bath. The bubbles I’d poured in now cascaded above the tempered water. I strategically placed my bath pillow just right so I could ease down into a blissful evening of relaxation. Before I stepped in, I placed my glass of wine, a large glass of ice water, iPhone (of course), and my glasses beside me. I was ready for some down time to myself. I lifted my phone and found my favorite game while detoxing in this humid heaven. I texted my friend to tell her that the bath pillows we’d ordered together were just perfect and I was using mine — I nudged her to use hers as well.
I started playing my game and my right hand was cramping up a bit. It did that often, but this was a very different feeling. It started getting heavier and heavier. Soon, it was so heavy that I had to give in to the feeling. I put my phone in my other hand and dropped my hand into the water. Bingo.
My bathroom had now become the bathroom in the old motel room in ’68. My mind’s eye flew open. The window of the memory had started with that body memory. I didn’t realize what my hand was telling me until I was instantly back in the motel room. Plain as day, I was there, again. I could see all of us there. Dad, Craig, me, but the woman had already been murdered and was missing. The room was full of chaos, and they were moving about quickly, but not orderly. Dad handed me his knife. It was heavy — that was the heaviness that was in my hand. The odd thing about working through tragic memories is the way they come back makes sense when you educate yourself. The body keeps score and the heaviness in my hand led me back.
With the knife in my hand (which makes no difference anymore, except to explain the weight in my hand), Dad told me to follow him into the bathroom. I didn’t want to go because they had placed that lady in there. I opened my eyes or were they shut? I wanted to pull myself out of that bathroom and to stop watching in my mind’s theater. But now, I was urged back, so I continued. Craig was in the bathroom and the lady was in the bathtub.
The water was running over her neck, and they had her head laid back, sort of cocked in a weird position. It was laid back so far it was like a fish head that had not been cut off all the way and flopped back. Her head just should not in that position.
“It shouldn’t look like that,” I literally said out loud.
My mind raced as I was watching it again. I started crying rather loudly and intently. The scene played out with the water running over and over her neck. It ran until the blood seemed to be washed away.
By this time, my husband heard me gasping with struggle from the other room and had walked into the bathroom to ask me what was wrong. I told him that I was okay, that I was just seeing something. I tried to catch myself, wind it up, and be done but just continued to blubber quite loudly. I wanted him to just to go away and leave me alone.
The troubled lines on his forehead outlined his fear and concern “Jodie, you are not okay.”
The persuasion on his face got me to get out of the bath. I didn’t want to get out of my bath. I just took twenty minutes getting the damn thing set up so I could be peaceful. And then this shit happened!
I went into the back room with my husband and continued trying to process and get through the memory. It’s an extremely unpleasant thing to do. My husband, of course, wanted to just get me back to a better place. But as we watched TV it became clear that to him that you don’t just wrap one of these flashbacks up in newspaper like an old dead fish carcass and toss it out. It isn’t that easy. I got through the night, had another couple of glasses of wine to still my mind and nerves, and then went into a fitful night’s sleep.
About 4:30 AM, I was woken to deep trembling and severe body aches. I saw myself lying in bed the night after the murder in the house on Delaware Lane. The light from the moon was coming through the window and I couldn’t quit shaking. I shook so bad that it felt like my head was gonna wobble right off my shoulders. My body had shaken in fear and pain before, but this crazy head shake wasn’t something I was used to. Now, I was scared again because I didn’t know how to stop it. It felt as if my head wanted to wobble right off!
. . . to be continued . . .