Prompt: Five fears that you have.
Death – It’s been kind of a shitty week. Both my guinea pig and a co-worker died. You may not equate the two, even if I told you that I was much closer to the guinea pig (who was a member of my family) than the co-worker but for me, death is death. Maybe that doesn’t follow all the way down the food chain. But it gets close. Death is a thing that hovers around my consciousness like humidity does in the summer. You can feel it and sometimes it’s unbearably suffocating. Other times, a quick shower will make the thoughts go away. My concern is not that I will die, because I will – though I can’t quite wrap my head around the concept of nothingness – but when. And how. When is more important, really. I don’t want to leave children behind. I can die when they’re grown and on their own. And I’ve finished one goddamn decent novel. But my deepest fear is that I’ll die before then. And their lives will be altered in ways I never wanted or intended. Because this is my ship and I’m steering it and I want them to arrive on the other shore before I head down the River Styx. Also, I want to know how the story ends. My story, the earth’s story, your story. If I’m dead, how will I know?
Incapacitation – Next to death, I’d really hate to be disabled in such a way that my life became a hardship on others. Basically, if I couldn’t work, we’d all be homeless. Or they’d no longer be living with me and I’d be…where? I don’t know. I don’t want to be in such a state that I could no longer take care of myself.
Poverty – Not my current state of poverty in which I can just manage to pay the bills and keep us fed and clothed with a roof (that needs replacing) as long as no huge tragedy befalls us. But true poverty that would mean an entirely different and worse circumstance. Homeless shelter. That kind of poverty.
Ticks – Some things must die. Ticks I kill with abandon. They are horrible. A plague. Dusty had Lyme disease in 3rd grade and fortunately it was caught early and she’s shown no lingering signs of problems. But I still shudder at the thought of them. And they’re out there. I live in the country. Surrounded by ticks. I think this is probably a mental illness that I chose to live in the middle of the Devil’s den. So I stock up on the bug spray with harsh chemicals. And everyone sprays their legs before they go outside. Sometimes one will come in on a cat’s back and it gets burned to death or flushed down the toilet. I will not tolerate them. I will not.
Death of a child – Frankly, this is probably fear #1. But because it’s the worst, I’m placing it at the bottom. It outstrips all other fears and really doesn’t need to be explained. When Dusty was born, I could not watch movies and tv shows where children were killed. Not for years. I worried that when they were soundly sleeping, what they were actually doing was being dead. Every morning that started with a noisy child was a good one. Hurray! No one died in their sleep! Whew! It’s safe to have breakfast! And while I’m free of infant death worry, there are a million and four other ways a child or teen can die. The news is full of it. I’m slightly more immune to it now until some insane person with an arsenal decides to shoot dozens of children and then the fear creeps back in like mildew in a shower. Scrub and scrub all you want but it’ll be back! Please don’t anyone kill my children. Please keep all the diseases away from them. Please don’t let them ride home with an inattentive driver. Please don’t smash your car or truck into a car my children are in. Okay? Do we have a deal?