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First Development of Synesthesia

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It was a hot summer day in January 2005. Skye recalled very vividly. He was less than 20-month-old. Even he did not know calendar dates at the time, he was certain it was mid January 2005, after he had his toy LeapFrog. It was the summer before Thomas was born.

The fan was running in Skye’s room at night to cool the room down. Skye fell asleep. Then he had a nightmare, the worst he had ever had. He dreamed that hundreds of fans were enclosing on him, and trying to suffocate him. His friend LeapFrog came to protect him by fighting against fans. At the end, LeapFrog was killed, and he was suffocated by the fans. It was black everywhere. He got waken up and was shaking.

He looked at the fan from his cot, and was still terrified what he had dreamed. All of a sudden, he noticed something unusual.

“What’s that?” Now he was more shocked than terrified. He saw black colour splashing everywhere around the fan. He knew that dream had changed him forever.

The whole week after the event, Skye was terrified seeing strangers passing his pram when we were out for a walk. He was on full alert making sure there was no fan coming to get him. He remembered a man’s deep voice which scared him terribly. That was the only week that he remembered clearly what happened while he was in a baby pram.

Skye developed his Grapheme to Colour synaesthesia shortly after. Now knowing he had an ability to see synesthetic colour around a fan, he started utilising the same method in areas he was really interested in. He associated letters and numbers he saw on LeapFrog with colours to help him remember and learn those new things. Some of the colour associations remained until today, but many have changed due to his exposure to new experiences.

Until today, the black colour can still be seen by Skye around a fan on a warm day. He is no longer scared of any fan, instead, it is a reminder of how his synesthesia had started.

On 22 January 2005, I bought Skye and myself two air tickets to Shanghai and I wanted to take the baby to visit my grandparents. I fell pregnant with Skye not long after I came back from my last holiday in China. I missed my grandparents especially my grandpa dreadfully. I was brought up in my maternal grandparents’ household. My mum was the oldest daughter of seven. Out of all my grandpa’s grandchildren, I was his favourite. I used to get so much privilege to be taken everywhere by him. Now I was a mother, I wanted grandpa to meet my treasure.

I was awake the first half of that night imaging how excited grandpa would be to see Skye in March. I decided not to tell him about our trip until Chinese New Year as I didn’t want him to get too excited.

I got woken up by an early phone call in the morning. It was my mum and she sounded distressed. After a minute or two, I finally understood she was telling me that my grandpa had passed away in his sleep. I froze, and finally let out a loud cry.

The trip to China went along according to the schedule. I did not bring it forward, and I missed my grandpa’s funeral. I was grateful at the end that I had not told grandpa about our planned trip. Otherwise, I would have blamed myself to cause his excitement and his death. Deep down, I knew my grandpa and I had a connection. I must have sensed that something would happen even there had been no reported major health problem from Shanghai. Grandpa passed away around the time I fell asleep, a few days after Skye’s first dream about death, and the start of his synesthesia.

(Image source: www.overstock.com)

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