Tamara Stamenkovic
Prose,  Written literature | Author's writings

The old pain becomes new

I keep pressing my ears with all my strength, trying to stop that feeling of lost dreams digging holes in my eardrums. And that neck pain from the sadness that passed twenty years ago, but the pain comes back, like a little push of my conscience to bow my head and submit to something that happened. Yes, I was abused by my agony, neglected, and distorted and exploited in my paranoia, consciously. Yes, but I was also misunderstood and wrong, intentionally disoriented, and malnourished spiritually. Sure, I saw it coming, all the pain, all the pressure, when no one could understand why I was so cut off from myself and the world, why I was looking for a way to silence the voices before they spoke. And I knew that was true, I saw all the breakings waiting for me, and I couldn’t articulate it in a meaningful way, even less clear and specific, to understand myself, although self-awareness was a part of me then and now. So, what’s the dose of that irony in a test tube of this pain? It comes back like a boomerang through my throat, sliding until the last drop of bitterness burns my skin. I feel the needles in my fingers whenever I hear words that hurt me, and my fingers push the edges of the old couch as I try to discipline myself by saying that we are breaking, myself, the pain, and our walls. Any blow and scream is a normal reaction to mutual resistance. Do you understand now? Do you need anything else? My fingers will not remain still, as my world trembles, and my memories shiver as they fall and don’t move off the ground. They look so real, except they are as cold as the frost and don’t move. When I touch their hands, they no longer return my touch, they’re no longer those same memories in vessels of ice and fog, they no longer have smiles that shine. And my fingers can’t be calm, they twist and twitch. My heart is a newspaper in a dog’s teeth while chewing it, and my hands try to grab and hold on to a somewhat safe slip, but they don’t want to believe it’s gone. Every time something new was thrown at me, I couldn’t stop blinking, because I wasn’t expecting, I was too busy thinking. These eyelids are hollow when I’m awake. As I sleep, they are a door I can’t break, a wall, a prison, I’m stuck inside, hysterical, lonely. I’m sure I committed some crime because my eyes were serving a sentence, condemned and confined to cells beyond the reach of reality, a tour guided by myself through my private hells. My legs burn and squirm when I stand too long, they don’t seem to know where I stepped wrong, they are complaining about injustice wanting peace, but I have no resistance, or early dismissal, without the certainty that I will be released. My back remembers the dirty touches sliding down, remembers the wounds that were just metaphors. I have a scar on the back of my heart, itching, but I can’t reach it. They told me that when you lose someone special, it will lead to past losses, old wounds, reopen them, and then the old pain becomes new, but none of this has time to grow old for me, it goes so fast, I cannot manage to follow everything. I’m a rock that sticks to a hurricane and prays for bad weather, to something, to someone who cannot hear me. And, as I turn into an invisible dental chair suffering from other people’s pain and collecting the roots of injured souls, I realize that I don’t have teeth, but I continue to grind them because I have to make a bridge for the time that they have told me, it will heal all wounds. But how much time and love I’ve invested in the world, and again, I don’t feel healing. I don’t feel the wounds are closing. I know that I want more until I hit a balance, and the pain overwhelms me the way it can revive the tree and kill it again until it gives it the perfect balance of dying so that something new can breathe again. How else can I get out of the chains wrapped around my bones if I don’t break those same bones? Then I’ll be born as someone new, and I’ll be alive. I only need a little more time. I need to continue to dissipate my fears, to find what stuns me, what keeps me from breaking down. Then maybe I can understand it.

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