My memory is awful and it saddens me to say I can barely recall much of my wedding day in any level of detail. However this isn't about that but rather something entirely on the opposite end of the scale. Quite why my brain can latch on the horrible memories far stronger than the happy ones is beyond me and I really wish it wasn't the case, but there we go.
I remember a good number of years ago, in my early teens a particular incident that changed my life forever. Have you ever been frightened? I don't mean scary movie frightened or creepy footsteps in the park at night frightened, I mean the terrified for your life kind of frightened. I was frightened like that a number of years ago by something.
I was frightened of myself.
My brother and I were visiting my Dad at the time with his wife and step-children. His wife had a tendency to get drunk, loud and occasionally violent but for the most part we weren't badly exposed to it but this particular visit proved to be the exception to the rule. I find it hard to remember the specifics exactly, which is perhaps a blessing and a curse both, but what happened that night at roughly midnight has had an effect on my life ever since and even thinking about it now, whenever something causes the memory to rise, sends me into a fear and a fugue.
We were woken up by screaming, by yelling and shouting, name calling and venom directed at my Dad by my step-mother. I vaguely recall something about her slashing up his clothes or something. The four of us, me, my brother and my two step-brothers were huddled in our room, afraid at what was happening but used enough to the sounds of crazed screaming to know better than to interfere. We were trying to wait it out and sleep but my brother had different ideas. I don't recall why he left the room, perhaps he'd needed the toilet, wanted a glass of water or wanted to see what was happening or try to stop her but either way he ended up grabbed by my step-mother and held in a kind of hostage situation. I seem to have vague memories of her having scissors or a knife, but I can't be sure how much that is imagined or not.
Either way, something in me snapped. I went absolutely insane with anger. You hear about red clouding your vision but your never really believe it as a literal truth, but exactly that happened. It was like I was having an out of body experience, myself looking down at this animal fueled by rage and hate and anger and nothing but an all consuming desire to grab my step-mother and kill her, to take that knife or scissors or anything and stab it into her again and again and again to make her let my brother go. I wanted to hurl her down the stairs and hear her neck snap, I wanted to beat her until there was nothing left but an unrecognisable red smear on the carpet. I wanted to kill her and that frightened me more than anything else has ever frightened me before or since. It wasn't a euphemism or a threat, it wasn't some imagined thought in my head. I crossed a line that day and consciously decided I wanted to utterly destroy another human life. I became a murderer, if only in intent and not deed. I lunged for her through the open doorway of our bedroom and it took both my step-brothers to hold me back. I kicked at the door, tearing it off it's hinges to try to get to her and I can barely remember what happened after during that struggle through the tears and rage and roars.
I remember tearing one of those tough little anti-stress toys open, trying to calm myself when the fog cleared enough for my to think again. It's strange the odd details that stand out in my broken memory. I'm not even sure if it's real, my memory so poor that I can't tell the difference between a real memory and the memory of a dream or nightmare sometimes.
My brother was released, I think I frightened her with my rage enough for him to escape back into the bedroom and so together we decided to run away and did just that. That ended in a ridiculous farce, my younger siblings not realising we had to remain unseen and instead going to a service station for food, only to have to police or our parents called, as is to be expected when a bunch of 12 year olds (or whatever age we were at the time, I don't remember) wander into a service station in the wee hours. I don't remember exactly how we got home after that, whether we turned around and walked back or were picked up.
Anyway, ever since that day I've found it very hard to get angry. Frustrated, sure. Annoyed, yes. But never angry. I frightened myself that day more than I've ever been and I was determined to never let it happen again. Now I'm just numb, afraid of what I might unleash if I ever allow that anger to surface, afraid of what I might do, what I might become.
My hands are shaking now, writing this, its hard to revisit that dark place and look the monster that was born that day in the eyes and see that it was me.
I can't remember half the details of my wedding day.
But I remember this. I remember that monster.