Voices outside the door. Low droning baritone melding with alto interjections, a contrapuntal interplay of human verbal exchange. Rising and falling dynamics, punctuated by snippets of silence, ebbing and flowing. Footsteps on the wooden boards. Shuffling sounds. More footsteps. Rustling again. Clicking, I hear plates and glasses being gathered. The tap turns on in the kitchen. Someone is washing the dishes.
Ordinary soundscape, ordinary living.
Why then the white fizzling silent roaring of fear? Trapped inside without locks. Frozen cocoon. Holding breath. Muscles stiff. Auditory nerves straining and fraught.
This is not how it should be. This is a safe haven, a space for respite. Look again: clean floor, fresh smells, no offensive chatter, respectful distance, and amiable silence. Wide expanse of space for solitude and reflection. No banging on the door, no unwelcome intrusions. All is peacefulness. Why such cruel illusionary tricks, conjuring trepidation?
Sensory radars on high alert. Nerves frayed. Startled by sudden noises. Waiting for the coast to clear. But when?
Ingrained response. Acquired phobia. Unreasonable fear. They call it PTSD. Whatever its name, its embodiment is devastating, even after original triggers are removed.
Sleep, little one. Breathe deep. Stretch weary taught sinews. Dream sweetly. Tonight.
Tomorrow we return into the bowels of sensory torment, spinning hapless once more inside the orbit of perdition served within a bowl of kindly insensitive charity.