Take Another Look

{February 21, 2010}   fear

Fear is what comes at us at the strangest times. It’s the thing that jolts you awake when you find yourself lying in a pool of your own vomit, in a place you don’t know. It is the animal coming to swallow you whole when you show up late to your new job for the second time. It is what causes you to break the law because you are afraid you might lose your prosecution case. It is what halts your breath for a second or two as you try to speak up in front of an entire auditorium of people who hate you. It is what makes you lose yourself in sleep for days at a time because the prospect of waking and having so much to clean up is shaking you down. It’s the friend you don’t want but can’t get rid of. It’s the enemy you never knew you had. It’s the shaking that arises after you text somebody because you need somebody to talk to, and even they don’t text you back. It’s the sobbing that emerges when you invite a married man over to your house, and only his hands can soothe you from falling into sharp pieces. It is the only thing keeping you from jumping off the roof of the mall, and it is the only thing keeping you from not jumping off the roof of the mall. It is what causes you to pee your pants in the first grade just because the teacher created a new policy, saying too many first graders used the bathroom pass. It gives you nightmares over and over again, trying to send you the same message and failing. It is the moment you stop nodding off as if you have been inhaling poisonous gas this entire time, as you remember somebody saying that medications mess with how much oxygen intake your brain gets, and how your body gets tired of the switch being fucked with all the time and your body not knowing how or when to intervene. It is what comes over you when you learn that you are losing your memory and that you will have to wear diapers as you grow older, using up the last of your pension fund. It is the surprise on your face when the only person you relied on laughs in your face and tells you they never wanted you around, they just liked your money or your body and they don’t care for it anymore. It is the moment you look into the mirror and realize you are getting old. It is the time you see your daughter running across the street, barely noticing when the car stops so she can keep running across. It is the moment you can’t save yourself, much less your own offspring. It is the moment you realize you are about to lose your kids and there is nothing you can do to get them back. It is the moment you pick up a gun to gain control of a situation and your hands begin to shake uncontrollably. It is the fifteen irritating voice mail messages left on your machine that you don’t want to listen to. It is the flood on your hands that you can’t bail out of. It is the mortgage pressing down on you and there is nobody to hold your hand. There is usually a place you to go to when you are that afraid, but what happens when that place stops letting you in. Then you have another fear. The fear of the 86. Being kicked out of the last place of refuge you had makes you quiver in places you didn’t know were capable of that kind of movement. Having to actually use those two quarters to call out for help and hearing no answer, not because they didn’t hear you but because they don’t feel like answering. It is the helplessness of having to leave a husband that makes demands you cannot meet anymore because they are beyond your scope of comprehension. He promised he would never go to a strip club, and now he says that he needs a third girl living with you for him to have sex with, and you don’t say anything, you don’t leave him, and your son grows up afraid that nothing will ever change. It is the hesitation  in a policeman’s trigger before he gets himself shot by the criminal he didn’t want to have to take out. The primal cry of a baby that won’t stop crying in its teenage mothers arms. The shivering of the hardest man in jail, trying to remember the sound of his mothers voice. The puff of a cigarette that helps keep denial at bay until one day the cigarette doesn’t work anymore.  The lovely plush of a needle into a vein until the blood clots. The only thing that circumvents fear is the absence of fear, but for as long as you use drugs or sex or people not to  feel fear, the fear will come back to you as soon as you don’t have your blanket around you. It’s the sensation that something went wrong and nothing will change it. The worst of all is being given a chance to fix it all, and fucking it back up for the ninth or tenth time. It’s what people like to harshly say stupidity, as if by treating it with an iron fist, they can beat it out of their lives for good. It’s the lie you swiftly tell the welfare workers who come in asking you about the bruises all over your body and you tell them, no, of course you fell down the floors for the tenth time. It’s the dreams you have after of leaving home and never coming back again. It’s the moment you turn from a victim into somebody that has to batter other people for making a mistake.


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