My mother knew what my step father was doing.
We have never spoke a word about it.
She has no idea that I suffocate when I go into basements. Especially older, unfinished ones like the one we had.
How he would take me by my wrist and lead me downstairs. Over the years I got a little stronger and it became harder for him. It never mattered though. He always won.
The musty smell of the collected rainwater that would leak in comes back to haunt me from time to time. You have no idea how many things smell like that. Sometimes, wet clothes that have sat in the washer too long is all it takes to drag me down there.
Whitey was his name. Well, his nickname, anyway. It was because his hair turned white not long after college, he said.
I have an irrational fear of the color now. I know it sounds crazy but I avoid looking at it at all costs. Difficult thing to do since white is fairly common in everyday life. I won’t look over at a house if it’s white. I wouldn’t dare live in one. Even the letters on the keyboard now drive me insane as I try not to touch another part of my body without first wiping my hands. As if the color had infected me or something.
The panic attacks I have started a few years ago and have ruined quite a few relationships. I haven’t trusted anyone enough to tell them so I push them away.
I don’t remember who I was before I was like this. Or if I was anything at all.
I hope that by leaving this here that someone who went through the same thing might read this and know that they are not alone.
Maybe I need to know that I am not alone.