This Is What My Fear Looks Like
My fear is a little fat man in his 50s, dressed in a 1920’s suit complete with a vest and a time piece in a pocket. His clothes are two sizes too small for him. His hair is grey and covers his head in unruly and greasy tufts. At his whim, he makes my heart beat faster, makes me sweat, and makes my eyes sting. When I spiral into an anxiety attack, he gets an extra bonus for a job well done.
He lives in a mansion with a pool, that greedy little bastard. He lounges in a lazy boy, squinting his eyes as he smokes a cigarette in a holder, leisurely puffing out rings of smoke, quietly plotting when to send his gloomy messengers out to my brain again. He stretches out on a chaise longue by the swimming pool, smearing sunscreen on his plump pink arms. He has Elton John like sunglasses perched on his mean little face. His expression is twisted in perpetual malice with beady eyes that seek the best place where to hurt me next time.
He goes bowling in his private game hall and as he rolls the ball, each pin is one of my defense barriers. He happily knocks them down. Sometimes with just one strike. When that happens, he happily jumps up and down in his bowling shoes click-clacking on the hardwood floor.
Then he goes to his private study and sits at his black heavy typewriter with round keys and furiously types yards and yards of pages, filled with horrible thoughts. He especially likes writing about my eye cancer re-occurrence, the fear of losing my eye, losing my sight, breast cancer metastasis, more chemotherapy, and more surgeries. If he is in an extra mean mood, he throws in death and not getting any more moments with my loved ones. He then folds the pages, attaches them to his carrier pigeons and dispatches them to me. Sometimes it feels like I am in the Hitchcock movie bombarded by bird after bird.
He makes sure my dreams give me no relief. If he is in a super crappy mood, I have nightmares all night. As I sleep, he rushes to all the corners of my brain and pulls out all the old, dusty, traumatic memories he can put his chubby fingers on. He twists them out of proportion, settles them on his pudgy palms and blows with all his might until the fragments occupy every crevice of my brain, making sure my sleep is permeated with terror.
He takes a quick nap but as soon as I pause any activity for a moment, he jumps right back up on his devilish horse and disperses more bad vibes. He throws rocks in my carefully built pond of calmness, creating ripples of misery. He stands there on the bank, his peg legs holding up his potbellied torso, picking up one rock after another, pitching them with a screeching laugh. He throws faster and faster, laughing so much, tears streak down his face. When he sees I am curled on the floor, holding my head in both hands, squeezing my eyes shut, he finally takes a break. But not for long.
I go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and he is waving at me from the pupils of my eyes. I open the fridge door and he is sitting there staring at me from the top shelf, his legs dangling. I turn the TV off and the black screen morphs into his shape. I go to the store and he shoots arrows of miserable thoughts in my brain. He stands there, calmly picking up one arrow after another, knowing I have to concentrate on driving.
But he has to rest sometime. So he usually gives up when I spend time with my loved ones and my dog. He squints his eyes in disapproval, huffs, and waddles away. He keeps looking over his shoulder to see if I am still protected from his evilness. Every once in a while he tries to swoop back in but bumps into the clear globe of happiness that surrounds me at that time. He slides off, angrily dusts off his knees and sits under the tree, chewing on a blade of grass, frowning. He waits, knowing that soon I will be alone and he will be able to continue his sickly games.