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.
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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.
Then I threw up.
If you have not eaten much, Cruisers taste exactly the same coming up as they do going down.
I finished vomiting and we all laughed.
I’m not too sure what happened during the rest of the party, but one moment has stuck in my mind throughout the past eight years. We were all sitting in Jason’s room, lying on the bed, singing along to Wonderwall. One of the boys pulled out his lighter and swayed it in time to the music. I sang along, trying to tune out the screaming that was ringing in my head.
We got picked up not long after the sing along.
I went to stay at Kylie’s but I couldn’t sleep. My mind was a ticking time bomb and I was trying to defuse it. I did not want it to explode the truth, not yet.