We hadn’t seen my mom in a few days; she didn’t know about the trip. We hadn’t known either when my father walked in and asked us to pack. The road was snow white and empty like a ghost town, with donkeys eerily parading along the dried-out river. There was dust, a lot of dust. It never crossed my mind that this trip, this one decision my father took to drive us to his home and leave us there, what this one seemingly harmless decision would lead to.

I could smell the garlic still lingering in the car from the garlic bread my father had bought. We could not open the windows because of the dust. The air was heavy with a mixture of smells, it was garlic and petrol and dust and Sta So Fro hair spray. I dozed off after bushes and bushes of thorn trees and dry grasslands, the monotony of the trip got to my tween mind.

When I awoke from what felt like hours of slumber, still disoriented and half asleep, I could see the Silo right at the beginning of the village. It was grey and gigantic to my child eyes. Back then I was fascinated by this massive, round contraption and I remember asking my father what it was. He stayed silent, somewhat tense I could tell, and as we drove into the yard and were met by my grandmother my heart sank.

The red brick exterior, the dead stump by the gate, the brown rug in between the sofas, the dreaded brown couch that met my forehead. Those red nails that pinched their way into my juvenile thighs; the bruises, that sudden burn after a slap, the ringing sound, the time slowing, my hearing fading. The red brick exterior and beige walls, the dangling curtain in the hallway, the dark hallway, the mixture of garlic polony and ginger beer and a scent I can’t quite place but will always tie to it.

The wound still throbs at the very mention of my own surname and I don’t even have scars to show anymore but man, nobody tells you how childhood trauma haunts you. You never really realize how deep a scar goes until you are forced to strip naked of your own sanity.