It's 1:30am, and I'm sitting on the couch with my toes tucked under my roomie, listening to Sigur Ros and typing about trauma again. I woke him up in case the yelling and throwing downstairs between our neighbors got worse. I had a flashback before I thought to write and listen to music, and for a moment I was cowered on the white tile floors of my Chicago home with Trevor, and he was above me, screaming and hitting the walls again. Then I dug my fingers into the blue afghan on our couch, the one my roommates godmother crocheted for him- the godmother that my laugh reminds him of, and he finds comforting- and said out loud, "I am in Oakland California, I am safe."
Yelling somewhere I am supposed to feel safe generally makes me hide or cower. I'm likely to end up on the floor in a corner, weeping, if yelled at directly by a loved one.
I wonder how many uncomfortable nights neighbors at my house with Trevor sat up to the same sounds as he yelled at me, screaming so loudly spittle flew from his mouth as he hit the walls and I sobbed. I wonder how many slammed doors they suffered. The older trauma, the original origins of my fear of yelling, from incidents with my ex fiancee at 18, that's old and dealt with for the most part, but tonight was my first direct encounter with the fresh, visceral trauma-memory of Trevor's intimidation of me. I haven't felt that pain or terror in almost a year.
When my friends complain about overhearing neighbors having sex, I usually bring up that there's far worse noises a couple could be making than the sounds of love.