Part Twelve in the Derailleur series.
I think it was in 1998 when I first saw Pulp Fiction. No revelation, no emerging repressed memory. I just bled.
That wasn’t the first time. In 1986 I saw a doctor for bloody stools. Bright red. No exam, just a sample kit for me to bring back to the office, and they drew blood. Nothing came of it.
In 1988 I saw another doctor for the same in addition to suffering a nervous breakdown. External influences contributed much to my condition, not the least of which were the circumstances surrounding my son’s life. I was bleeding now from both ends, one attributed to an ulcer and the other chalked up to irritable bowel syndrome. I was given anti-depressants and a high-fiber regime.
In 2002 I had a colonoscopy to rule out all kinds of suspicions. While I was being prepped the anomaly was noted – the scar tissue around the anal sphincter that prohibited it from sealing. I was asked what may have caused the trauma. I had no idea, no recollection, just the onset of a deep malaise that intensified my night terrors. I still have them, just not as frequent.
A few years earlier, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in advanced stages and as a result had surgery to remove organs south of his navel along with the addition of a urostomy. This was a dramatic lifestyle change for this avid camper and fisherman, one from which he never recovered. I used to think that he surrendered to it since he couldn’t make a move without knowing where the nearest restroom was. After he passed away I was going through his car preparing it for sale and found a trip diary, a journal of the journey from his home in California to mine in Utah. He’d stop at the same gas stations both ways, and his last entries included an encrypted code on the quality of the mens’ rooms, where to go and where not to.
And that’s when I realized I wasn’t so different from my father. I went to restrooms at least every two hours of every day in a futile effort to keep myself clean. Nothing I did to care for my diagnosis of IBS worked and I leaked, constantly. Anxiety made it worse and I was in a perpetual state of hyper awareness, afraid I might saturate or stink. But I learned to live with it at least on a physical level and as much as possible keep the embarrassment to myself.
It wasn’t until the colonoscopy and the ensuing consultation when I began making connections to what happened on my mission, all at arguably the worst time in my life. It took another eight years, a self-destruction, and then an adept therapist and systematic desensitization therapy to recall and understand that trauma.
And that scene from that goddamned movie looped through my nightmares, giving context to my memories, until I finally admitted to myself that I had been raped by two men who used a nightstick to invade me and tear me up.