Aren’t you coming with us?I feel his hand on my cheek. I know what this means and I slap his hand away.You’re coming with us, Evan, I say.There’s something I have to do.That’s right. My hand flails for his in the dark. I find it and pull hard. You have to come with us.I’ll find you, Cassie. Don’t I always find you? I—Don’t, Evan. You don’t know you’ll be able to find me.Cassie. I don’t like the way he says my name. His voice is too soft, too sad, too much like a good-bye voice. I was wrong when I said I was both and neither. I can’t be; I know that now. I have to choose.Wait a minute, Ben says. Cassie, this guy is one of them?It’s complicated, I answer. We’ll go over it later. I grab Evan’s hand in both of mine and press it against my chest. Don’t leave me again.You left me, remember? He spreads his fingers over my heart, like he’s holding it, like it belongs to him, the hard-fought-for territory he’s won fair and square.I give in. What am I going to do, put a gun to his head? He’s gotten this far, I tell myself. He’ll get the rest of the way. What’s due north? I ask, pushing against his fingers.I don’t know. But it’s the shortest path to the farthest spot.The farthest spot from what?From here. Wait for the plane. When the plane takes off, run. Ben, do you think you can run?I think so.Run fast?Yes. He doesn’t sound too confident about it, though.Wait for the plane, Evan whispers. Don’t forget.He kisses me hard on the mouth and then the stairwell goes all Evanless.
Rick Yancey
BEFRIENDING THE BODY Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. Being frightened means that you live in a body that is always on guard. Angry people live in angry bodies. The bodies of child-abuse victims are tense and defensive until they find a way to relax and feel safe. In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.In my practice I begin the process by helping my patients to first notice and then describe the feelings in their bodies—not emotions such as anger or anxiety or fear but the physical sensations beneath the emotions: pressure, heat, muscular tension, tingling, caving in, feeling hollow and so on. I also work on identifying the sensations associated with relaxation or pleasure. I help them become aware of their breath, their gestures and movements.All too often, however, drugs such as Abilify, Zyprexa and Seroquel, are prescribed instead of teaching people the skills to deal with such distressing physical reactions. Of course, medications only blunt sensations and do nothing to resolve them or transform them from toxic agents into allies. The mind needs to be reeducated to feel physical sensations and the body needs to be helped to tolerate and enjoy the comforts of touch. Individuals who lack emotional awareness are able, with practice, to connect their physical sensations to psychological events. Then they can slowly reconnect with themselves.
Bessel A. van der Kolk