She thought it was funny how we fantasized about death, mini self-torture devices of the mind, bent and black and twisted within the fine contours of our head. She thought about it often, but only for the people she cared about the most. In moments of quiet self-reflection she became all too aware of the seconds on the clock and how they correlated with the time we had left. Each little flick creating potential for moments, leading into other moments, putting us in the exact wrong place at the wrong time. They were late, they were missing, it was cold and slick outside, or perhaps she just had a bad feeling in her gut. A feeling that slipped up inside of her and grew more at a steady rate until she could feel it slipping up her throat and out of her mouth. What if, what if, what if. What if coming home, they don’t quite make it? What if going out, they take the wrong turn?

I can see the look in their eyes, and the fear of the ones we love is twice as powerful as the fear we fear ourselves. We want to plan everything but this is the one thing we can’t, so we rehearse it in our heads to make it’s untimely arrival more comforting. If it happens at least I’ll have heard it before. There won’t be any shocking endings in this storybook.

And when the doorknob twists or the phone rings and you see them again the fear slips out more quickly than it had built inside of you, just an inhale is all it takes, and the storybook closes firmly shut. No need for nightmares today, we’re all safe and cozy inside, all together and protected.

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