Don’t Panic

Let me take you back, back to one of my earliest childhood memories; I’m in the compound picking ripe mangoes from the tree by the fence. I’m on my tiptoes reaching up when I hear the gunfire, it’s rapid and loud and I drop back onto my heels to listen some more. Short bursts then a pause, a large explosion followed by my mother’s panicked voice. She’s on the veranda shouting, waving me in but I can’t move, I’m glued to the red dirt beneath by feet. In the end she has to run out to get me; when I get into the house I see that she has already filled half a suitcase with an assortment of clothes, passports and papers. A minute later she throws both  the case and me into the back seat of the Mercedes and we are gone. The front door is still wide open and I watch it swinging gently through the rear window as we speed off towards the highway.

That is my first memory of panic. It’s the first time I can recall that breath-sucking monster, it’s the first time I felt alone and helpless and blinded with fear. They say that smell is the sense most closely linked with memory and I have no doubt that it’s true because whenever I pick up a mango from a market stall or supermarket shelf I can’t help but lift it to my nose and take in it’s cloying odour and suddenly I’m back there in that compound and my head is full of fear.

9 thoughts on “Don’t Panic

  1. Wow, I felt like I was there with you.
    Isn’t it strange how a scent or music can bring a flood of emotions, both good and bad? My PTSD is sometimes triggered by the most random things, it seems, and then I’ll remember the smell. . .
    Thank you for following my blog! I hope your writing journey helps. Even though mine has turned into a review site (hopefully, I’ll have a new site dedicated to just reviews around the first of the year), I have found the writing of my PTSD, anxiety and suicidal ideations has helped tremendously. I pray your writing will help you, too.

    1. Thank you so much for those thoughtful comments. My journey has only just started but I feel better already. I look forward to following your blog. 🙂

    1. Ok, I was 7 or 8 and we lived in Accra, Ghana. The government had been unstable for some time, everyone was waiting for it to kick off ( well not me, I was too young to understand.)
      Anyway my mother swooped me up and we went to find my father. We got stopped by soldiers at a road block and she had to pay a huge sum of money to get us away. It was frightening but overall I loved living in Africa, had some great memories too 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *