Pieces of a Childhood: 1. Dreaming
We probably all suffered from different kinds of PTSD. Mother had gone through a childhood which included a kind, but weak mother, an alcoholic and abusive father, nine siblings, and extreme poverty. Father and his seven siblings never quite got over the terror they felt for their father, who would punish them brutally. My siblings and I were starving like baby birds from lack of physical and emotional closeness to our parents. All four of us were very quiet and lacked basic self-esteem.
Mother tried to free herself from her worries by keeping her house sparkling clean. When given a chance, Father would attempt to find a moment’s freedom by getting drunk. Daydreaming was my way to search for a better world.
During my childhood, the family made one single Sunday excursion. Early that morning, Mother poured hot coffee into a thermos and made sandwiches. Father put hammers, screwdrivers, and paint scrapers in an old bag. Everybody put their dirtiest clothes on.
We left home on our bikes and went to a place where there was a big pile of old, used tiles. To make some extra money, Father had accepted a one day job for a construction firm. Our task was to free the tiles from cement to make them reusable.
Without telling anybody, I was excited. The owner of the construction company had a daughter who was in my class. Annika was a peaceful girl, with cute freckles and golden blond hair. She was the most beautiful girl I knew.
All day long, I was daydreaming…
The manager unexpectedly shows up to inspect our work. His daughter is with him. When she sees me, she comes over to talk. She looks deep into my eyes. She smiles and invites me to visit her in their big, beautiful house.
In the evening, when we returned home, we were dirty and exhausted. Next day was a Monday and we would go back to factory work and schools.
We had done a good job, freeing the tiles from the grey, stubborn cement. What could liberate us from our past traumas?