I was lying on my stomach absorbed in the limpid pond waters outside my grandma’s home.
The pond’s glassy waters showed me inverted trees and water skaters.
Its insides drew me into the mysterious worlds of water beetles, fishes and crayfish.
I peered into the depths of the still waters. A somewhat ameba-looking creature sprung from the underflow.
I turned rigid with fright with the suddenness of its arrival. I sensed a dark evil penetrate the air.
The creature had a peculiar odour – a hint of sulphur, anger and bitterness.
It slithered closer, tilting up its empty face in a smile that was not a smile.
It spooked me further by calling my name and breaking into a low-toned song.
“The milk is in the pan, the food is on the stove, the song is in the street and the ghost is on the boat. The glance in her eye says there's place for one more. Come."
Its whispered sibilants made me tremble. I felt I was being sucked down into the water, deeper and deeper.
This was a universe beyond my understanding and control. I was in a blue funk.
What I heard was not so much the rasping hum as my fear, an ill-feeling of dread, with its wings whirring in my ear.
This was my meltdown moment. My world was turned inside out.
Every nerve in my body quivered with whimpering, blubbering and scardy cat cowardice.
A quick rippling in the waters and the monster of the depths disappeared.
My fear soon turned into anger at myself. For not getting into a bare-knuckle fight with the creature.
For being such a flaky cream puff and falling prey to an optical trick. Or was it?
I face palmed myself many times for the not-knowingness, and this uncertainty about the ‘other’.
I am convinced the unconscious mind is the scariest monster of all!!! And the most enduring of mysteries.
I wondered if I would ever find my way back from the mind-rattling sights and emotions.
My world turned turtle at thirteen.
I got my dates mixed up and missed my history exam. I was in danger of failing in class eight.
I had never experienced anything like this. I felt crushed, mashed and stupid.
If I had maintained a cry log, it would have overflowed.
Worse, my private embarrassment played out in public as my teachers verbal-whooped me in front of the whole class.
My mood kept changing. I was friendly, one moment. Ninja-ferocious, the next.
I closeted myself in my room for hours on end, a sullen silence coiled around me.
I had no words to convey what I was going through.
I tried to make my immoderate, violent anger go away.
I pushed, pounded and swallowed it on many occasions. It persisted. Stubborn and mocking.
Ma, a heart doctor with a huge heart, understood my caprice. She showed me another way.
To sit with the pain. Let it pass.
Instead of punishing me for missing the exam, she sat with me to help me make timetables for a retest.
Sia spend a lot of time with me, listening and lending sister courage.
I took to swimming again, this time my up strokes were far more vigorous.
Are things on the mend? Have my mind's demons been tamed? Let me keep it real. Not altogether.
Anger and fear still hover on the edge. I hear their knocks. They won't go away.
What I have just learnt is to handle them better. My determination is to keep in balance.
I hope these emotions never blow my mind's lid again. Do you think they will?
Oomna at 13
Oomna at 8
Place for one more
Noughts and crosses
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