I was five years old when the gunshots started.
As I sat in the warmth of my grandmother’s yellow patch quilt, my small body trembled.
I imagined men with guns and eye patches, waiting just outside my window.
They would break in and yank me out of my ivory bunk bed.
Before my mind could ponder what they would do next, I slipped out of bed as quietly as possible, hardly letting my feet touch the cold floor, for fear they would hear me escape.
I tiptoed into my parents room, tears streaming down my small cheeks.
“Don’t worry,” they told me, stroking my hair. “It’s Chinese New Year. Those sounds are just people lighting fireworks.”
I was nine years old when my room turned into an ocean.
The warmth of my grandmother’s yellow patch quilt disappeared.
The bed I was on was suddenly floating.
A figure was coming towards me.
With every second it got closer, and my skin grew more ice like.
My heart stopped as the face finally came into view.
There was Lord Voldemort, wand in hand.
As his slit-like mouth pronounced a curse on me, I let out a blood curdling scream.
Just then, my father appeared by my side.
“It was just a dream,” he said, taking me into his arms. “Just a bad dream.”
I was fifteen years old when I woke up convinced I was on my death bed.
My entire body was drenched in sweat.
My insides ached so badly I didn’t dare move.
All I could do was sit in the warmth of my grandmother’s yellow patch quilt and utter prayer after prayer.
Mustering every ounce of strength in my body, I crawled slowly out of bed and up the stairs.
Waking my parents out of a deep sleep, I told them my stomach was going to explode.
“Darling,” they said, probably trying not to laugh. “You just ate some bad food. Wait a few hours and everything will be fine.”
I was nineteen when I thought my heart was breaking.
As I clutched at the worn threads of my grandmother’s yellow patch quilt, my body, no longer small but still fragile, quivered.
My eyes were swollen and the beat of my heart that echoed in my ears seemed unsteady.
I could hear yelling outside my window.
Frantic screams of college voices.
I looked for somebody to tell me everything would work out fine.
But all I got was cold air, and the echo of my roommates watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.