Someone once said to me ‘the things we fear have already happened to us’ and well I think that’s a lie.

Okay, maybe not a complete one. My fear of heights stems from the time I got stuck on a roller-coaster for nearly an hour. I woke up to find a spider crawling over my face, that’s where my arachnophobia found its origins. Fear of small spaces, yep I got stuck in a small lift for two hours with five other people. A friend’s snake confused my arm with the log that it usually coiled itself around when it was in it’s tank. Hello sheer terror. I got pooped on by a bird at a garden party in front of all my friends so I duck automatically when I see something above my head now. I looked my dad straight in the eye and saw a black hole of nothingness that truly conveyed just how disappointed he was in me once. That became my biggest fear for months.

It’s my second biggest fear these days. A part of me longs for the nothingness look because at least then I could try to fix it. But there is nothing I can do about the red rimmed irises and the constant sheen of water that glistens against his eyes. I can’t get rid of the pain that bleeds into his pupils with such force that my heart stutters when I catch it.

No my biggest fear now is the biggest of them all. Probably everybody’s biggest fear if they really think about it, but are too scared to admit it because it makes the inevitability of it all too real. There is no way this fear can possibly happen to you fearlessly and then manifest itself into a fear because then the world that we live in would be very different.

I fear every time I wake up in a cold sweat to a scratchy blanket scraping at my legs and pinning my arms to my sides. There is always a deep, jagged inhale and a slow exhale as my heart stutters back into a familiar irregularity and then the fear momentarily passes.

I fear when there is an irregularity in the irregularity. Every time there is a stutter that lasts too long as my heart constricts I hold my breath and scrunch my eyes and wait for the end. Every time one I am expecting is missed I count the seconds before the next one, hoping that it comes quicker than it should. Every time a beat feels like it is taking every ounce of energy I have left in the muscle, I wait impatiently for the next one, silently hoping that it feels like it should and that the exertion wasn’t a sign that it was the last.

I fear closing my eyes. But the beeping that reassures me of my irregularity has become like white noise and it soothes me. So my eyes drop shut and the world goes grey and then black despite the fluorescent lights of my room. They jump open when I realise and I count the diamonds on the ceiling to keep my dry eyes open and my mind occupied because I’m scared that when they shut they won’t open again.

I fear when the machine finally makes one long last monotonous noise. When I slip out of consciousness for good and my muscle decides that contracting and releasing to keep things moving along just isn’t possible anymore because it’s more tired than me. When, because I refuse to shut my damn eyes, I see the swarm of white and blue moving frantically in front of the light. When the voices lose all hope as they speak and they turn to my dad and the noise that erupts from his is unlike anything I have ever heard or ever will.

I fear the last sound that I hear being the sound of my dad and falling apart because I’ve lost the battle I’ve fought so hard against. I would rather see disappointment oozing from every pore and hear his calm and collected voice telling me off than have him losing me be the last thing I associate him with. I want to remember his laugh, not his uncontrollable screaming.

I fear all that but not more than I fear the abyss that I am on the brink of falling into. I’m stuck between two evils, neither better or worse than the other. They are my reality.

So yes, I fear heights, small spaces, snakes, bird poop and disappointing my dad but my biggest fear is the fact that soon I won’t have the chance to do stupid things that cause minor fears for the rest of my life. Soon I won’t have anything.

And what’s scarier than that?

Published by Sophie Thomas