Alone Behind a Panel of Glass

So it began… I didn’t know what to feel. There isn’t a guide-book for this stuff. I am inherently joyous, with a permanent grin on my face, and a naughty sense of humour. That is who I am. It is decidedly at odds with some of my life’s experiences. I haven’t been on social media this week, only to wish people a Happy Birthday. I feel alone, terribly alone. I have averted my eyes from the happy snaps at gatherings I didn’t attend. I feel like I am behind a pane of glass, able to see life occurring, but unable to participate.


It wasn’t a ten second fall from a building… It was also the events leading up to it, and the way my life changed afterward.  The sense of loneliness never leaves me. I spent my last week before the fall in a room lit by a bare light globe. There was barely enough light to read by. It was freezing cold and I shivered underneath my threadbare blanket. I was so lonely. I worried about what would become of me. I was fifteen years old.

Last night, I didn’t sleep. I had memories of the 36 hours I was held in a flat, the grills on the windows, the deadlock on the door. 36 hours is an interminably long while to wait to see how your story will play out. I was alone with a monster. Music, smells, sounds, conversations, all replaying over and over again in my mind. The world outside carrying on just as it did in the street outside that flat.

Today, the sun shot through the window of my living room. It speared the sun-catcher, and it shot rainbows throughout my home. My daughter made snow flakes from paper, and delighted in telling me that each was different and special, much like people.


We went for a walk to the park, and I sat in the sun. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, so busied myself on the phone. A few dear friends messaged and asked how I was doing. I appreciated their kindness. Time doesn’t make anniversaries such as this any better. Being a mother myself has actually made it worse. I can’t imagine my child enduring this, any of it. I met these ladies, and we went for a late lunch. It was wonderful to be brought back to the present, to talk about our lives and to show each other funny images of cute bunnies and guinea pigs. To forget for a while.


I am so used to the loneliness stemming from that time in my life, and so afraid of rejection, that I don’t tend to initiate a get-together. I don’t think I could bear being hurt again. These ladies cut through the glass pane. I don’t know what I want at times. I want company, though desire to be alone. It is confusing and tiring. I keep people at bay, fearing abandonment. I love with all my heart, but keep my own counsel. I have developed a whimsical, light-hearted character, but it is merely a part I play. There is  a child locked inside my soul, who is facing it all alone. When I look back on that time, it is the loneliness that has had the most impact. Being a child dealing with adults who are playing games you haven’t been taught. Trying to save your life all by yourself. Trying to keep other people from being hurt. Trying to stay sane in the process.


This past weekend, I was attempting to conceal what these days meant. “What is the date Mummy?” my daughter asked as she filled out her workbook. “The 24th of July,” I whispered. I watched her squeal with joy as she rode her bike, ringing her bell along the bike track. Smiling and tearing up, and greeting passers-by and dissociating. It is hard letting it all unravel as it demands to. There’s not a thing I can do to make the pain stop. I have to sit with it, walk it out, play with my daughter and cry in the shower. I am so grateful to the ladies who met with me, and provided balm to my wounds. We didn’t talk about the anniversary and didn’t need to. They knew and I knew they knew. That was enough. I wasn’t alone. That was more than enough. On the 26th July, I will open my eyes and smile, just as I did on that date many years ago. I was battered and  battle-scarred, but I was here.



11 thoughts on “Alone Behind a Panel of Glass

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  1. Hi Raphaela… You already know how much I can relate to your experience and the anniversary date can be tough. I can only imagine what you must have gone through, but I do understand effect it has on our lives and our relationships. I am in therapy now and they say one of the most important things is to allow ourselves to feel and each time this happens, it seems to be a very healing experience. We never get over and moving on implies we leave it behind. It’s something we need to somehow learn to live with and hope that time brings peace and less trauma.

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  2. My dear lovely lady. Each time you feel these things you are winning that original battle over and over and over again. You defeat it more stoically each time that date comes around. Your strength is screaming out in your words. You have won, you are here and you are a tower of strength. Bee xx


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