Five years after she escaped from Ariel Castro’s basement, Michelle Knight says she still experiences moments when a smell or object triggers memories of her time in captivity.
"One of the meals he made for us was hot dogs, rice and eggs, all cooked in bacon grease and all served together in a bowl," she told NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today. "I get a nauseous feeling when I smell that."
Other "certain smells," she said — describing how Castro would cover himself in Tommy Hilfiger and Old Spice colognes — flood her with memories, too. As do "light fixtures with chain pulls," like those that bound her.
Knight — who was 21 at the time of her 2002 abduction — was one of three women who escaped from Castro's Cleveland dungeon when he forgot to lock a door in 2013.
Knight spent 11 years chained to a pole in Castro’s basement.
"The first time I was actually able to sit outside, feel the sun, it was so warm, so bright," Knight, now 37, told NBC News about her initial days out of the cellar. "It was like God was shining a big light on me."
After the women bolted — thanks to quick thinking by fellow captive Amanda Berry, who screamed for help from neighbors — Castro was arrested. He hanged himself in prison soon after.
Knight was repeatedly raped by Castro, according to police, and although she became pregnant by him five times, she suffered repeated miscarriages from Castro's beatings.
Now married, Knight and her husband Miguel still live in the Cleveland area, but she changed her name to Lily Rose Lee. It's possible that the couple won't be able to have their own children because of the physical abuse Knight suffered, but they're considering adoption, NBC reports.
Knight recalled for Kelly that Castro would tell her that "happiness was not for me and that it would never happen to me," but Knight, the author of a recently released second memoir, "Life After Darkness," said that she has "found joy in my life."
"Now I have a chance to make my own destiny," she said.