Fear. It can be crippling. It can also change as we age. What’s your biggest fear right now at this moment? Will you have the same answer tomorrow?
When I was little, my biggest fear was abandonment. After my father passed away, my mother remarried the man who would end up raising me and shaping my life in ways I didn’t know were possible at the time. I was only four, which is how old my daughter is now. I didn’t understand everything that had happened. I just had a fuzzy memory of my mother holding me over the side of my father’s hospital bed and telling me to say goodbye. I hadn’t said anything; I’d just waved. Waving instead of speaking is something my daughter does sometimes when she’s apprehensive about something. She’s afraid of the dark and worries when she thinks I am mad at her.
Not long after my mother and stepfather got married, I began having a recurring nightmare. I think I was about six when it began and it happened several times during the next few years. I dreamt about having to go hunting with my stepfather, just the two of us. In the dream, he made me stand under the water in a creek so that he could stand on my shoulders and look for deer through his binoculars. When I couldn’t hold my breath any longer, I pushed him off my shoulders, and he fell into the water and hit his head on the rocks. He wouldn’t wake up. At that point, I would always wake up crying. Pretty twisted for a kid’s dream, huh?
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I Remember Purple Skies- Fiction Workshop 2002
Mattie pushed her newly-dyed purple hair out of her face. Her green eyes filled with tears. She had fun during earlier road trips with her friends Sunny and Jade, but now that her first semester of college was almost over and her heart was broken, Mattie felt like she couldn’t enjoy anything anymore.
“Are you dwelling again, Matilda?” Jade asked, pushing her short black hair behind her ears. “Don’t make me come back there and beat your ass. You know I’ll do it.”
“A little,” Mattie said. “It was the song I guess.”
“Don’t just sit back there and cry, Mattie,” Jade said. “Bitch about it to us. Or scream, whatever works.”
“That’s what we’re here for,” Sunny said, looking at Mattie in her car’s rearview mirror.
“I told you I wouldn’t be any fun on this road trip,” Mattie said. “You should have left me at the dorm.”
“You had to come to keep me and Sunny from killing each other,” Jade said.
“Yeah,” Sunny said. She pulled out her ponytail holder, shook out her long blond hair, and threw the holder at Jade. “Hey, that’s not funny!”
Jade and Sunny playfully argued while Mattie stared out the back window. The sky was purple under the haze and clouds.
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“Pieces of Myself ” 10-29-99
I can still remember the first time we were completely alone together, being nervous but never once being afraid.
That night I gave you a piece of my soul, for the first time between two shooting stars.
You asked me to trust myself, told me to loosen up; so I did that for you and let my worries drift away.
I can still remember when I could have lost you forever, having realized before that I love you.
That night I gave you a second piece of my soul, under another shooting star.
Now in my current state, all I can do is think of the past and the future that might never be, for thinking of the present only depresses me.
I can still remember the feeling of being ripped apart from the outside in, but not dwelling on the pain of it.
That night I gave you yet another piece of my soul, for the third time under the stars.
You told me not to lie to myself and asked that I not lie to you; so I told the truth and it scared you, and me.
I can still remember when I shattered in front of you, no longer able to hide my agony.
That night I gave you a fourth piece of my soul, below a sky full of angry stars.
Now that I am reminded of you, every morning, as I awaken at the same time to whisper a prayer,
I fear the first morning that the residue of my soul allows me to sleep unaware.
I can still remember, some night, all of the dreams I had, even without enough soul to encourage them.
That night I will give you all that is left of my soul, for the last time under the stars.
You said to go with my instincts as you go with yours; but you never mentioned that mine are less important.
I can still remember not wanting to fall for you, but I did, and I will never regret it.
Some night you will return to me my soul with a piece of yours,
and I will take both willingly and never let you go.