Escape Hatch No. 1

Disclaimer: If you know you’re easily bored by long stuff, shut your eyes and go read somewhere else :-P.

Brandic- This is distraction no. 1

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Looking back on my younger years has been quite the educational journey for me. I would probably make a very good psychiatrist or therapist, if I put my mind to it, considering what I’ve learned so far. According to my father, I was always a talkative child. If there was an awkward question that a five or six year old could think of, I was definitely the first to ask it. My mother’s side of the family, being full of teachers, ensured that if there was a word I could pronounce, I knew how to spell it and use it. At school, my grades were always those delightful As, A+s and 90s that I no longer strive for. With my chatterbug infection, an infectious smile and “precocious” vocabulary, I was apparently a pretty cute kid. It was somewhere along this time that things started to go dark.

I remember always reading. A lot. By the time I reached primary school (elementary for you Americans), if there was a book around, I read it. Religious, romantic, fairytale, scientific dissertation, didn’t matter to me. I understood them. I would be so engrossed in the words and the pictures they painted, that the only thing that pulled me out of them was bodily removing the source. There was just something so intoxicating about the knowledge, the cultures, the science, even sociology once gripped my attention. I can actually say that by now, I’ve certainly read over a thousand+ books (of course I’ve counted all these little skimpy things people call books nowadays). With books as my choice of shield, the only past I dealt with, was the one the characters experienced. This shield worked really well for a number of years. It was perfect. No real friends to disappoint. No parents to hide “wicked” secrets from. No uncle to remember. No guilt, no shame. Just me and the world of books. Then one day, it broke.

I wish I could remember the name of the book. I just know that it was by Stephen King. I love his work. Unfortunately, it seemed I picked the wrong one that time. How was I to know that the library in the story, unlike the ones I knew, was a place of fear? How was I to know that the main character would flashback into a place similar like mine, meeting a memory he had long ago repressed? It was in that moment, as I confronted the demons of that child, that I lost something. I literally threw the book halfway across the room. I hadn’t even read the lines, the implications were enough. The one place that had been a different world, was now contaminated. It was that year, in third form (9th grade), that a little part of the introvert I had become, was seared painfully. It felt like the last bit of innocence I had left was shattered. (<—a general idea of my overall feeling, not that moment)

Books, novels in particular, let me be someone else. I literally shifted, adapted into the character of the day. I felt the pain, the excitement, the joy. I lived it. My mannerisms would change, my accent would sometimes change. In my mind, I thought like the character. That was how influential my books were. Being an avid reader of anything and everything, it never occurred to me that I should censor or monitor what I picked up. These books were my escape hatch, they served as the perfect distraction. They were my distraction from the past, and the pressures of the present. They trumped everything, school, homework, studying, developing friendships.

Now that I’m older ( well, almost 18 😛 ), I can see that my reaction was not overly dramatic. At the time, I felt like an idiot for being so sensitive. Now I fully understand the world my books created. I get there importance.

Kadeen Nichelle Oksana Waldron

June 20, 2012.