On Fear

I am fine right now but I know that I have not always been fine. I know that I will not always be fine but every so often everything aligns in such a way that the fear recedes. I know that the fear has not always been so loud, but I know that there is nothing I can do about it now except to wait for everything to align in such a way that the fear recedes. The fear has lingered deep within my brain for so many years that I just did not notice it until it had already consumed me and even then I did not realize that the fear was there until everything aligned in such a way that the fear receded for the first time and everything became so abundantly clear.

It was clear that time had passed very differently for me than it had for everyone else because I did not realize that it had been over two years but I was not sure how many years it was just that it did not feel like over two years. It could have been longer or shorter but I knew that the number was not right but everyone kept telling me over and over and over that yes it had been over two years you idiot. I could not argue with them and it did not matter because everything shifted in such a way that the fear came roaring back into my head again and time moved differently again until the next time it was clear but that was not for a while longer.

In between it is loud and everything shifts but not into place just moving around and sometimes things stay in place long enough for me to look at them but then they start moving again and it is difficult to know how much time has moved because it is so loud and shifting and sometimes it feels like hours but it is only been minutes and sometimes it feels like minutes but it has been days.

There was this one time when the lines fell into place and I realized that I had not seen my wife or son or daughters in over ten years but it also made sense because they had the fear too but a different kind of fear not the shouting kind but the quiet kind where whispers are spoken to others about where I was when I was not there and what I was doing and why I was not where I should be. No one wanted to talk about the fear and they were not here for me to explain it to them because they were never here when it all becomes clear only when it is shouting and now they do not come at all.

White is the worst color because white seems to be everywhere and it bleeds into the other colors so easily and I never know where it is until it is right there in front of my face and I cannot see anything because it is so bright until I turn the lights off to make the white go away but then the sounds come roaring in from all directions and it is really loud so I turn the lights on but then I cannot see and so then darkness sounds or searing eyes or maybe I should make red fall from my fingers and scalp so that it is not bright and it is not loud it is only red and fear dripping.

I like to go outside when everything is quiet so I can hear the birds sing songs in the wind that rustles the leaves and branches and I can see the colors that do not hurt my eyes and I can smell the smells of dirt and grass and leaves. If I walk to the pond I try to find a frog or a fish or a duck and I talk to it and tell it how things were before the fear. I talk about my wife and my children and how beautiful everything was, more beautiful than this even though this is quite beautiful. The animals do not talk to me but they do give crooked glances and I think that means they understand.

Sometimes the noises are words and voices and they follow me into my sleep but it hardly matters because I no longer really need sleep I am a machine god made of meat and red and I can mute the world anytime I want to and make the fear go away. I just sit in the corner of the room and watch myself punch the walls and dig my nails into my scalp and watch my body fall down onto the ground but it does not hurt because it is not my body, my body is in this corner, this one over here.

This silence is a lie and I know it but I enjoy it all the same.

My body moves farther away from my body until I am encapsulated in a bronze statue. Gears and whistles adorn the interior. When I move my arms, the statue’s gears clank and groan, the whistles shriek, and its arms move with my arms, and when I move my legs, the statue’s gears clank and groan, the whistles shriek, and its legs move with my legs, and when I look out, the statue’s gears clank and groan, the whistles shriek, and its eyes look out from behind my eyes and I see myself covered in red and fear and crawling voices.

by Dan Diehn (@diedan)