After leaving New Zealand and Diamond behind I don’t remember The Devil being spoken about again. My Grandmother had returned once more to New Zealand and I had no contact with either of them. Diamond’s story was long forgotten, stored safely in a locked box within the dusty attic in my mind.
Now in my early twenties, I’d been chatting with a friend one day about strange things people do and I’d mentioned my father’s famous story about my grandfather burying his favourite car in the backyard. They’d joked that it must have been a pretty special car and asked what type it was. This was a question I was sure I’d known the answer to in the past but couldn’t for the life of me remember.
It was completely irrelevant to the point of the story I’d been trying to tell my friend but my well known dodgy memory had been especially bad of late and so I was particularly frustrated by the fact that I just couldn’t recall this silly piece of information. After several days it was still niggling at me so I decided to phone up my father and ask him. When I called he was out and so I asked my mother to get him to call back and then told her why I was ringing.
My mother had sounded confused for a second before declaring that I’d not only already called and asked the very same question about the very same car a week ago but I’d had a good twenty minute conversation with my father about it.
I thought she was joking at first and then when it became apparent she wasn’t, I decided she’d gone mad. I don’t remember how that call ended but I know I was frustrated and worried for my mother, her mother had had dementia and maybe she was headed in the same direction.
When The Husband got home from work that day I told him that I thought my mother was slowly losing her mind and started explaining about the phone call when he’d stopped me and said “Hon, you did have that phone call, I was there, I heard you talking to him.” He then proceeded to tell me some of what was said in the conversation. None of it rang any bells, it was all new information to me.
I was confused and scared. I couldn’t believe them because I was so sure that conversation hadn’t happened, but why would they lie to me about something so trivial?
It’s hard when you first start realising you’re losing time, mostly because it takes a long time to figure out you are the one with the issues not everyone else. There’s a lot of denial, a lot of questions, a lot of not knowing what or who to believe. It’s somehow easier to assume that the entire world is conspiring against you to make you feel crazy than it is to acknowledge your brain is feeding you dodgy intel.
That phone call was one of the first times it had become glaringly obvious to us that we we were not okay. We started having more and more noticeable dissociation, blackouts and even fugue states around that time, we just didn’t know that’s what they were called yet. We thought these symptoms were related to some bizarre physical issues that had come and gone since our late teens and started getting worried we had a brain tumour.
After seeing a couple of different doctors who ran a bunch of blood tests and even a CT scan no one could find any physical reason for our problems let alone suggest a way to treat them. It was decided that we were physically fine and it was all in our head.
At that time in our life we saw the term ‘it’s in your head’ as synonymous with “you’re making it up for attention you stupid drama Queen, just shut up.” And so humiliated and ashamed we stopped trying to get help. Eventually we were dragged against our will to a new doctor who believed our problems were real and genuinely wanted to help us, but that’s another story for another time.
Knowing what I do now I imagine discussing The Devil and his car on that call probably triggered out the part of us who was holding Diamond’s story secret at the time, a story we weren’t ready to remember yet and wouldn’t recall for many years to come. For me personally that call was the start of a very hard and rocky road to self awareness, accepting our own mental illnesses, learning about our fragmented mind and beginning the quest to heal a life time of traumas.
15 odd years later and the memory of that conversation with my father never did come back. The Devil, his Wife, and my father are all dead and buried like the old car that I still don’t know the name of. Diamond lives Australia now, although a different part of the country to us, she’s phoned a few times since Dad passed away just to check on us and how we’re holding up with the cancer. I’d like to visit her once chemo is over and tell her in person that I’m grateful she wanted to help us and that she trusted us with her story and maybe tell her a little of our own.