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TRAUMA’S BOULEVARD


Joker. Picture courtesy of Pinterest

A fiend for sadism -he takes a bullet from the golden seven on the table, kisses it and loads it into one of the revolver’s 7 chambers. You’re petrified, helpless, perched on the metallic seat hands tied to the back, he gazes at your panic-stricken face with a manic smile and spins the cylinder. Clamps it in, holds its cold muzzle against your temple – the veins underneath pulsating robustly. The room; eerily dark and grim, spewing horror in every sense of the word – the type naught comes out alive. Your eyes shut and your inner voice goes on a spiel of mercy to the heavens. You promise to visit the church more if you’re spared. Make a conditional vow to start a food programme. You think about your mom and the car you promised her. Dad, and his expectations. Melissa (your girlfriend) and how she would think you just ghosted out. Your brother and his school needs. Your life flashes past like a cinematic trailer, just shorter…CLINK! The trigger pulls but doesn’t fire. You sigh and grit your teeth. He takes the second bullet loads it in. 2/7. Increasing the odds of your head being blown off by 28% (for geeks), spins the cylinder and holds it to your forehead. This time you think about things you had planned but would never do; build a house, start a family, eat Dos Cabezas Toscano red blend ( I don’t know what it is either), learning how pronounce Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, trying out…CLINK! Fires. Blank, again. He takes the third bullet, sniffs it, complete psychopathy. Loads it in, spins the cylinder and aims from your throat. For nerds, it’s 42% of an odd and change. This time because you have made peace with your fate, you think about lesser important stuff; What do Life Savers in Olympic swimming competitions do exactly? If ‘Fe’ symbolises Iron does Female symbolise Ironman (pinterest). Will my cat be fed when I’m gone? Did I shower this morning? Why is the tongue the only part of your reflection you can lick? Heaven perhaps? What if…BANG! Slimy lukewarm fluid cascades the side of your face. Eardrums go numb in a ringing echo, distant voices rumble in the background. Breathe. Force from the fire jerked his hand to inaccuracy but the cartridge sliced a portion of your ear and ricocheted off the concrete wall…
***


Trauma is boisterous. It will creep up on you, lurk about and tease you like a shark does its prey. Linger around instilling fear then at your most vulnerable it attacks, callously. Thing is you can feel it, sometimes you can see it but you can’t ward it off, not how a fighter confronts his rival. You’ll have to kiss its ring, with contempt, but stay docile then face it. That’s what the therapist said when you crossed the Rubicon and advised you take up endurance sports, so you tried a hand in running, you ran your ass off until it felt effortless. Then you went to weightlifting, hoisted dumbells and whatnot you got built like Johnny Bravo (minus the pick up lines), leg day couldn’t quite squeeze its way into your schedule. Then you delved into professional boxing and bagged an equal number of wins and losses, you changed that after coming into realization that it’s more about stoicism than physical strength. Then one time you saw his face amid training, he was lunatically smiling the exact same way he did when loading the bullets. You shielded and crouched to the corner, everyone went aghast, you were running from an enemy only you could see.


It messed you up. You embarked on looking over your shoulder more, wary of hideous guys who had their hands sank in their pockets. Guys that wore jackets in humid weather always seemed too dodgy. A year down the line you felt better, the blood pumped in your vessels more freely, albeit with occasional morsels of panic and anxiety attacks. His visits ebbed down but he cameos, once in a while with his blood shot eyes and all but he reverted to making a straight face, the Joker smile just wasn’t cutting it anymore, so he tried to remodel but the new tact didn’t work for him either.


You found your will of fortitude. Now, trauma is very namby-pamby, it flashes when it thinks you’re lone but you stare it down, like a blinking contest but more sternly. You scoured it down so hard, beneath its pretentious façade to its cowardice and where it thrives, it’s essence – fear, then it wimped away into the abyss, destitute. Never came back. It was fighting an ‘enemy’ that could see through its bullshit.

Joker. Courtesy of Pinterest

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