Reconstruction of Memory // Christina Santana

Creative Writing Piece: Haunted

Reading our old text messages brought me back to where it all started. The flirtatious conversations, the plans for our first date, our first phone call. It reminded me of a happier time, one that bore no resemblance to the trauma I’d end up facing. Looking back on it now, I wish I would have known that the first phone call would be a contract I unknowingly signed. He wanted all of my time, every second of it. If I said I was busy or that I wouldn’t be able to call that day, he’d guilt trip me by threatening to kill himself. He knew that was my weakness. That I cared about him enough that I couldn’t risk it happening.  I felt helpless. I couldn’t help myself because if I left and he ended up killing himself, it would be my fault. The guilt would have been harder to handle than dealing with him ever was. As time went on, I thought I’d been getting better with coping. I thought going to therapy was aiding my healing process. It was supposed to show me that his abuse was not my fault.

I hadn’t noticed that my heart had been racing until now. My posture was stiff and my breath was coming in and out in nervous, short intervals. Just seeing his name brought back all the terrible memories. It reminded me that he still followed me everywhere. His harsh words were forever embedded into my being, and whether I liked it or not, he still had me under his control. I could never get away. He knew exactly what to say in order to make me stay. “You can’t leave me, Claire,” “I’ll kill myself if you do!” he’d say. His mental health history and the things he’d confided in me during that first phone call let me know that the threat was real. I was convinced that the fate of his life was in my hands. It was too late now. There was no turning back. I wish I would’ve known that there’d be one moment in time where the rest of my time would never be mine.

Author’s Note:
When writing my reconstruction of memory, I was inspired to emulate Margeret Atwood’s narration tactic of putting more emphasis on how the moment she’s writing about makes her character’s feel rather than spending too much time contextualizing the moment itself. I felt that putting an emphasis on the emotion would aid in the characterization of the narrator of my memory and would make it easier for the reader to see that her memory was a reflection of her experience. Similarly to Chief Bromden in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, the narrator of my piece solely speaks about her experience with her antagonist in order to show the effect he’s had on her. It was an intentional choice on my part to make the narrator of my story focus on the actions of all of the other characters but themselves because I didn't want the reader's perspective to be skewed. As for the topic, I felt that writing about emotional abuse in the manner that I did would allow people to see how it’s an internal battle that many people can not see.

Screenshot 2018-12-17 at 1.28.37 AM
Screenshot 2018-12-17 at 1.28.37 AM

Comments (8)

Shamus Keough (Student 2019)
Shamus Keough

This piece succeeded. Throughout the memories, you conveyed a lot of strong emotions, and I made it so I was actually feeling invested in the character. After finishing I was still thinking about where exactly the two characters could be relationship wise right now, and how they first met before the texts.

Wedage DeSilva (Student 2019)
Wedage DeSilva

Dang. I think you did a really good job showcasing that relationships can often be abusive. The idea of 'guilt tripping' someone is quite common and I have a personally read many things about those acts. This piece of definitely successful along with the visual representation you provided us. Looking at your Author's Note I can totally see your ideas of Atwood being conveyed in your writing.

Bronwyn Goldschneider (Student 2019)
Bronwyn Goldschneider

This piece was very successful in conveying strong emotions and a solid story within a few paragraphs. I like how concise and to the point the writing is. At the same time, you were able to be expressive and communicated emotions of sadness and fear. You definitely achieved your goal

Olivia Musselman (Student 2019)
Olivia Musselman

Reading this, I could feel how the narrator felt, especially when you said, "I hadn’t noticed that my heart had been racing until now. My posture was stiff and my breath was coming in and out in nervous, short intervals." Your sensory language really transported me into the scene!

Amelia Benamara (Student 2019)
Amelia Benamara

I literally love this piece. The parts that stood out to me was the way you distr9bed the past. You begin your writing happy and I even smiled when I read the first line. Then, it got dark very quickly and that made me feel the darkness that consumed you that entire time. I related so much, thank you.

Alexandrea Rivera (Student 2019)
Alexandrea Rivera

I think that this piece succeeded! Good job! I really liked how you took out the gym bathroom from before when I read your piece and focused more on the memories and emotions toward the abuser.

I'm still thinking about what gave the narrator the strength to get up and go if this piece were to be longer and continued I would like to know his side of things and how everything really happened because there are always multiple sides to the story.