In addition, I got to check out the tents that we'll be using on the Walk, and try some of the food. There were vendors selling nice stuff, but I haven't got the money to buy anything so I just looked. I also had a FOCUS meeting on how to raise more money, since the Walk is primarily a fundraising event.
The trauma was due to the location of the event. It was held at Dimmitt Middle School in Renton, where I spent the two most miserable and painful years of my life.
Driving up was hard. I'd never actually driven myself to the school before, but I found that I knew the way as though it were yesterday. You don't forget a route that you spent two or three hours on every single day in a slow lumbering school bus.
Lucky for me, in the 20 years since I went there, the front of the building has been renovated... heck, the school was closed for a few years, even... and some new outbuildings were constructed on the grounds. The bad memories stayed mostly quiet in front of the school.
As I walked to the place where the Expo was being held, I spotted the area where my locker used to be, in a bank of lockers, and suddenly remembered being pushed into the locker doors, having my locker slammed on my hand, and much worse. I had to stop and close my eyes to clear the memories. I looked again at the space: it had been converted into a couple of classrooms.
The Expo was held in the gym, where quite a few horrible memories dredged themselves up and clawed their way into the front of my brain as I walked around. Just there, I was pushed into the wall and spit on. Over there is where I gave another girl a bloody nose that one time, only to learn she wasn't the one who had hit me earlier. Pain and regret warred inside, and I had to force myself back into the present.
The gym hadn't changed. Maybe there was a new floor, but the walls and ceiling were just the same as in my nightmares. I instantly recognized the wall mural with the Viking ship, the other one came back to me much more slowly.
I looked out the back at the field, and saw the track which I "ran" a mile every Friday on. There was a bet I made with a teacher on that field. I considered going down there, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I wished we could go somewhere other than the gym. The bandroom had held some happy memories for me, as did the library. The gym was mostly bad memories.
I was glad when I finally finished my meeting and was able to leave. Driving away I felt the weight of the years peel off as I rolled down all the windows and cruised in the bright sunny day. Things I'd forgotten, repressed, still haunted me, but they were 20 years away now, and I had better things to do.