On my eleventh birthday I fell through the ice while playing on a frozen river. The frigid water sucked the breath right out of my body starting from my big toes moving fast up to that place in my throat that burns when I’m really sad. That was the first time I truly recall feeling fear. When I heaved myself out the air felt like summer; at least until I got halfway home and my pants were stiff with ice.
I haven’t paid much attention to fear since then but it’s been sneaking up on me lately. It seems to me I feel all kinds of fear now.
The kind that jolts you awake when you almost drive into the ditch but somehow don’t. Quick to subside with only lingering tingles in your feet and hands.
The fear you feel when you think you’ve lost your baby but he actually just fell asleep in the corner of the living room under a couch cushion. Fear to joy.
Or that awful nauseating fear that you feel when someone looks at you with eyes that whisper gently that they don’t care; or at least not nearly as much as you do. Like icy water it steals your breath.
What exactly am I supposed to do with all of it? Does it serve a purpose? Teach me a lesson?
Mind the road.
Mind the baby.
Mind the tenacious heart.
Do people live with this all of the time? Am I normal now? I think I prefer invincible. My overconfidence in my ability to navigate a frozen river and to even escape it’s jaws somehow escapes me now when faced with the heartbreak of life. My throat burns.