sometimes fear is all there is. fear that the new life is too fragile or somehow unsustainable. fear that dirty dishes, unfolded piles of laundry, a messy office and a ransacked closet mean the ex is right: households suffer under my watch. i find myself joking, is it any wonder i can’t keep a husband? in reference to lacking culinary skills, in reference to failing to reassure lovers, in reference to being overwhelmed by basic things like the grocery store and the gas pump.
fear sometimes. fear of being lonely. fear of being loved too much. fear of becoming irrelevant. fear of being relied on too heavily. fear of other people’s motives. fear of my own motives.
i had a really good weekend and yet this evening, nothing remains of it but fear. there is nothing concrete to blame. it seems out of the blue. an excellent therapist once told me emotions aren’t always caused by specific events or obvious influences. when we have an emotion that seems random, the brain can go out seeking things to pin it on. and so here are my suspects: my back is threatening to spasm, i had to take my car to the shop today (unplanned) and yesterday, i stood alone on my stoop and failed to measure up to the family of four i greeted as they passed.
the back / a pain like no other. a reminder that my body doesn’t always belong to me. the frightening realization that i can’t do everything for myself. outcome: pending.
the car / a warning light: stop! check engine coolant. i don’t know how to do that, of course. panic: if something’s terribly wrong, i won’t be able to afford to fix it. and without transportation, my world implodes. outcome: a visit to the shop where they top off coolant and run $20 a system check. all’s well. peace of mind for $20.
the family of four / there’s a family in the neighborhood that i know only casually. they’ve become iconic for me: healthy, wholesome, honest, content. i have no idea if any of that’s true, of course, but they either give off that aura or i’ve assigned it to them. they practically glow. if you were to tell me their feet don’t actually touch the ground, i’d believe you. last night, i bumped into them on my way back from the wine store on the corner. a soon-to-be divorced woman, dressed for a date (translation: cleavage), carrying a black bag with three bottles of red (restocking the cabinet). i got it in my head that in comparison with the family, i was the example of someone gone wrong, someone who’s strayed. outcome: feeling silly and setting myself straight.
and so there’s nothing fatal in any of it. but i am still stuck with fear tonight. and guess what? it’s a dark, stormy night. the sky keeps opening up and pouring rain on our heads. it’s been a pattern for days. right before this latest shower, i heard geese moving quickly overhead. no sirens tonight downtown to warn us to steer clear, just loud honks of a flock trying to stay out in front of the storm. i bet they managed it, too. stupid birds could at least tell me what they know.