Dizzy Laughter

December 21, 2007
By Takiea Haynes, Ayer, MA

Just a way to block out the noise, that's all. Some way to escape the reality. That's how it started, spinning that is. I was little, really young, about three or four. I know a lot of people can't remember too much from their childhood, but I don't know, it's just something I can't ever forget.
At that time, the constant rise and fall of raised voices wasn't out of the ordinary. Looking back, I see now how a simple disagreement could turn into an escalated, full-blown, yelling match. But when you're a toddler, you just peek out of your bedroom door and hope that all the yelling wasn't your fault. You hope that the tears spilling from your mommy’s eyes will fade and dry away. You wish that daddy could say the nice things he used to say to mommy.
One night, like almost every other night, the yelling began. But this time, this time it was different. I felt like I was on the front lines of a war, with powerful bullets, in the shape of words, zipping past my head. The yelling was very close this time. Peeking through the door wasn't safe though I didn't even have to really. My parent’s room was diagonally across from mine. The words sliced the air and the walls with so much force it scared me. I did not know why the words hurt more. Why this time, the yelling shook me.
Even at three or four years old, I knew this wasn't right. Mommy and daddy weren't supposed to be yelling like this, but I couldn't do anything. Standing at no more than 3 ½ feet tall, what was I supposed to do? I had previously tried to stop the yelling on another occasion. My little legs carried me into the kitchen and I squeaked out “Mommy and Daddy, be nice.” The yelling stopped for a little while because my mom put me to bed. Afterwards though, when they were sure I was sleeping, the yelling resumed on as if never interrupted.
Tonight though, I couldn't even bring myself to run into their room. My eyes scanned the familiar backdrop of my own. The purple and pink walls almost cringed at the shouts. Tears welled in my eyes, and my heart pounded frantically. Tears flowed down my chubby cheeks. My room was supposed to be my safe haven, my room, where I could go and safely hear the yelling from a distance. My almond brown eyes continued to sweep over the familiarity of my room. Unsure of what to do or say, my mouth dropped open soundlessly. Scanning my room like that caused me to go in circles. So, I kept going.
As I spun around I thought, maybe if I closed my eyes, just maybe, the yelling might stop. Maybe I could disappear and go away to some place quiet like on top of the mountains. Back then we lived at the base of the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Springs. Living there provided many escape routes for my imagination.
Sparks of colors danced in my closed eyelids. Red and yellow flames flared near the base of the sparks. Trying so hard to drift away pain shot through my clenched eyelids. Round and round I went, all the while dreaming myself away from everything. The wind whistled past my ears as I twirled faster. Careless hands lifted from my sides maintaining the balance in order to carry on with my spinning. The room was upside down. My adolescent ears buzzed as everything became eerily quiet. I could only hear the wind in my ears and feel the breeze on my face. The voices had become a mere background buzz. My eyes snapped open, and at that moment, I fell…hard.
I had finally done it - found a sweet escape. There was, in fact, something I could do to make the yelling go away when it came too close, if only for a little while. I could turn and turn as long as I wanted in the center of my floor. Sometimes, I would stand on my step stool and shut off all the lights and spin until I fell on the floor, only to look up and see my glow-in-the-dark stars still spinning on the ceiling. Staring up at the twirling night stars, my laughter would vibrate throughout my body and into the air. The walls of my room would echo the laughter back to me. This was the most perfect feeling.
I know it’s really childish and kind of weird, but sometimes I still find myself spinning, only to fall and laugh away the pain.

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