Today has been a gorgeous day! The sun has loomed overhead without a cloud in the sky; a crystal-blue canvas for the orb to dance around on. Down below on the city streets, colors are vibrant and alive while basking in the summer’s glow. I woke-up this morning, had a coffee that boasted a robust splendor, and felt ready for the day ahead. I took the train into the downtown core and had a row of seats all to myself for the duration of that ride. I made it to my appointment with plenty of time to spare, had an enjoyable conversation with the person whom I was meeting with and then left said meeting with a smile on my face. As far as perfect goes, today was pretty much it! Well, almost perfect – I’ll get there…
On my way back to the train station, I stopped off and had a hotdog from one of the street vendors near the station – guilty pleasure, I love street meat! I know, I know… After consuming the gloriously unhealthy cylindrical delight, I moved towards my platform – the train was on time, perfect! I hopped onto the train without a care in the world. I had my earbuds in and was listening to my favorite melody while enjoying the journey back home. It was in noticing that the train had skipped passed the normal stop stations that I felt something was amiss; in my daze of serenity, I had hopped onto the express train, meaning that it was going to flyby where I had needed to stop by numerous city blocks! No matter, as I have stated, the day was flawlessly beautiful, I didn’t mind a bit of a walk. When the train reached ITs destination, I left the passenger-car and walked through the maze of winding concrete hallways until emerging on the other side of the transit hub, close to one of the main artery roads in my neighbourhood-ish.
I started walking freely and without worry nor haste. I say without haste, but in doing that, I began to feel like it was time to stop and maybe grab a bottle of water and a brief rest before continuing on my unintentional topographical adventure. After a few sips of much needed ice-cold beverage, and as if to suddenly come online, I remembered that the 23-bus came this way and would drop me off right next to my apartment, perfect!
I made it to the next designated stop just in time to see the bus approaching – man, nothing was going wrong today! I boarded the bus and found a spot near the back to stand and wait for my stop. I had taken my earbuds out at this point as I did not want to risk the same folly that had taken place earlier today. I stood there with one arm outstretched and attached to one of the low-hanging yellow grip rods to balance myself along the way. Stop after stop, people boarded and dismounted. A constant flow of human traffic. At one stop, roughly six or seven blocks from my apartment, the bus stopped, and a rather portly individual lumbered onto the bus. He was encumbered by construction gear and high-visibility reflective taping. He managed to awkwardly maneuver down the narrow laneway in the centre of the bus. I sucked myself into the wall as much as I could so as to allow him room to pass, but it was of no use. His shoulder and mine collided softly, but what followed was anything but soft or passive. His proximity to me allowed for his foul odor to ferry from his body and into my nose! He did not just smell of a man who had been working outside doing a hard day’s work, he was sickeningly unclean and unbathed! The swirling concoction punished my olfactory and began to pull at my hippocampus. In the microsecond of a blink, I was having a flashback!
My nose continued to choke on the heinous composition that was this man’s natural scent, and my brain started to flip through the rolodex of stored traumatic imagery that lies within. It pulled forth a card from a scene that I had once experienced as a paramedic – it was of a grotesquely swollen male body lain on the carpet flooring of his small apartment living-room. He had been dead for some weeks. His body was tumescent and glossed with leaking plasma and was complimented by an odorous decay! His body had been neglected by the passing of time and the sun beaming in through his dirt speckled window acted as heat from an oven – but nothing was good about what was cooking… That’s how bad this passerby smelled, like death! Unwashed, untamed death! This invoked such a strong response from my senses and wounded mind, that a flashback crippled me while on a public bus! I began to gag; once, twice, thrice and then – bleh, splat, splosh – I vomited! I puked right onto the floor of that bus. Emesis even kissed the toes that snuck out from my sandals. You ever had that feeling where you think everyone is looking at you? Watching you? Well, let me tell you, all eyes were on me…
The breaks screamed a metallic groan from beneath the belly of the bus as it drew to a sudden halt! In the convex driver’s mirror, I could see a pair of inquisitive eyes looking back at me. The driver then peered over his shoulder and said nothing while his expression pressed me for answers. I stammered through an incomplete and nonsensical response. It was at that point the driver used his clear and concise voice to ask me what had happened?! I failed to complete anything resembling a proper explanation, I just stumbled over letters and vowels in my mouth. I tried once more but all I was able to say clearly was, “sorry…” That’s it, that’s all I could muster – it wasn’t enough, the driver likely suspected that I had been drinking, and rightfully so, I must have appeared awful in that moment, I was asked to leave the bus… I did.
I now stood in the watchful glare of a gloating sun. Alone and dismayed along the sidewalk of the city, listening to the heavy roar of a departing bus. Vomit still swinging from my jaw. My wounded brain has betrayed me once more along the road of recovery. I walked the rest of the way home, making eye contact with no one and nothing.
I stopped at a nearby establishment to splash water on my face and recalibrate my frazzled thoughts, and then continued on my way. I made it home and plopped myself atop of my bed, listening as the fan hummed itself around the room. I tried to fight off feelings of being ashamed, embarrassed and frightful. I began to worry that someone may have taken a video of me and that I could become the latest online viral pass-around – “puke guy.” I didn’t mean for it to happen! I didn’t mean to have a flashback!! God, what if I had been with a girl?! What a freak she would think I am! These have been my thoughts since retreating to the inside walls of my secluded apartment, now fortress of solitude.
My logic brain knows that it is not my fault, but emotional me hates myself and my aching mind. I hate feeling so broken, so fragile, I hate it! I guess I could use this as a point to tell you that I have started chewing gum at an alarming rate – it keeps the intrusive tastes of blood, piss and death away from the back of my throat – it’s still a trial and error… apparently…
I’m not sure what else to say, I fucking hate when things like this happen to me! Fuck you, brain, fuck you!!! And to steal a phrase from the infamous, Trump, fuck you bigly!
“what if I had been with a girl?! What a freak she would think I am! ” If a girl thought any less of you for having a flashback and feeling the way you do, then she would be pretty shallow in my eyes. But that’s just me, i like helping people. Dont beat yourself up about it, dont worry what others think, easier said than done I know, but remember you are doing an awesome job x