The whole time since we locked eyes, my body slowly started to shut down.
From the trembling hands to the shortness of breath. As soon as he mentioned how I disappeared off the face of the earth, his swirling eyes showed me for a split second what was going on inside of him, that internal war between rage and pain. The longing and the hurt, fighting for power.
Anger won, obviously.
But seeing him, hearing him and smelling him brought me back to a world that was supposed to be dead and buried. As a consequence, my body started to shut down on me and I knew what was coming, a panic attack.
I hadn't had one of these in four years.
The last time I had a one-year-old bawling his eyes out right next to me while I was struggling for breath in the far corner of my bedroom with my knees to my chest.
But now, 6 years later I could feel it all coming back to me and the only thing I thought of doing was going into the staff room. During that run all sounds around me became unbearable loud, making my ears ring until it suddenly stopped the moment I entered the privacy of the staff room. Locking the door, I closed myself in the bathroom stall and fell to the ground.