It wasn’t the six hours, it was the last thirty minutes.
Maybe I could point to the strong chemical odor in the particular area of the basement I was in. It did give me a headache, but it wouldn’t be completely true. It was the mental picture I had when I lay down on the cot I borrowed for the event.
In my mind this wasn’t a pass/fail concept. I wasn’t trying to prove that I could stay for 72 hours. There wasn’t any guilt in my mind over walking out. I think I got to that place, sooner than I had anticipated, where the separation spoke louder than logic or reason. That’s where I was trying to get, to the place I would have to call “alone”. I wanted to feel it, but I wasn’t prepared for how strong it came on. It wasn’t a trickle it was a wave.
I have traveled extensively, most of the time by myself. I have stayed in hotels and in people’s homes. There’s always a twinge in my chest when I get to the hotel room that first night. I usually don’t sleep well, but I have not felt that alone since I was a little boy. I was around four or five, living in Monahans, TX.
I was laying on my back under my grandmother’s curio cabinet. The unfinished wood, stamped with tha manufacturer’s name was close above me. I was crying, not just tears, but the type of crying that is called wailing. I felt utterly and completely alone.
My cousins had cornered me in their yard, down the street from where I lived with my grandparents, two of their daughters and my three siblings. At this point in my life I had no recollection of the death of my mother. It was completely blocked out, thank God. They, because they could, because they were older and stronger, told me that my grandmother wasn’t my “mom”, that my mom was dead and that I was nothing but an orphan.
I suppose they were jealous that we lived with our grandparents, and that my grandmother let me call her “Mom”. I don’t know why they did it, but it put me in that place called “alone”. I think it was my aunt Mary who got on her hands and knees in front of the cabinet and tried to coax me out. I kept crying and saying “I want my mom.”
She said, “Mom will be right back, she went to the store.”
I, through tears and sobs, said, “I don’t want my grandma, I want my mom.”
The look on her face was full of compassion, but it couldn’t close the door that had been opened.
At 11:45 or so, when I lay down, I felt that place again.
I can not fathom a child feeling that plus abject terror from tormentors. The knowledge that I could walk out at any moment was a sliver of hope that these people don’t have. The understanding that though I am alone I am not abandoned, is something they can’t hold onto.
One person being placed in the hell called alone is a tragedy, 1.2 million per year, is an atrocity.There’s more that I will say, but this is all for now. I am more aware today and more thankful for groups like The Red Thread Movement, The International Justice Mission and Love146.
My prayer for you is that you will always be free.
Please consider supporting the Rescue Project. It will be one way we can use art to raise awareness for this important issue. http://www.indiegogo.com/rescue-series