The senses can pull you back into a memory.
You’re walking along the street and a sight or smell can plummet you into reminiscence. When scouring the Internet for the scientific term for this, I was unable to find anything but the term ‘trigger memory’, so that will have to do.
I have many ‘trigger memories’. The smell of hand sanitiser reminds me of travelling across India. The taste of pink Starbursts whisks me back to the time I had an ear infection and had to take a pink medicine to cure it. I enjoyed the taste of the medicine so much; I later tried to convince my mother I had another ear infection. These memories are pleasant and usually met with a smile.
But one trigger memory is far from pleasant. A memory that sends shivers throughout my body. The memory is triggered by a song. I hear the intro and my stomach tightens. The opening line makes my breathing feel heavy and by the first chorus I am fighting tears.
I was a teenager, and heading to a party. I’d lied to my parents about where I’d be, just like I had done on many occasions and would continue to do until I was in my late teens. I sat in the car with some girlfriends, Amy, Steph and Kylie, giggling while Kylie’s mother was inside the bottle shop. She had offered to buy us alcohol for the occasion. I handed over a crisp $20 note and asked for a four pack of Cruisers, blue if possible.
Kylie’s mum dropped us off at the party, departing with a wave and a time that she’d return to collect us. I greeted everyone and then opened a Cruiser eagerly, taking a sip. It was delicious.
There was a group of us sitting around, drinking and laughing. I knew most people from school.
I downed my drinks quickly and went on a search for more, finding more drinks in the fridge; I downed them.
I could barely stand. Giggling, I fell over and one of the boys, Jason, picked me up. He carried me into the dark and empty house and put me on a bed. He laid himself next to me. I had barely enough energy to breathe the word “no” but I tried to push his hand away. I remember him saying, “Your pants are too tight,” as his hand lingered above the waistline of my jeans. I blacked out after that.
LISTEN: Tracey Spicer joins Rachel Corbett and Holly Wainwright to reflect upon the #metoo movement, and why the time was so right. Post continues after audio…
When I woke up alone, I didn’t know how much time had passed.
I got up from the bed, shaking. I zipped up my fly and refastened my bra that was hanging loosely off my chest under my shirt. I found my way out of the house and headed to where some of my girlfriends were standing.