Day 4 of personal challenge. It’s a little more personal – an attempt to express even a fraction of the daily terror that resides within. Let me know how I did.

(Edit: changed the title: The Fear in Living. Mistake on my part. Sorry, folks.)

Dig down, find the vein. Where is it? Dig deeper, where the paranoia rests, stir it to the surface. Why do I do this? Do I make a conscious choice to make myself miserable? Tense and sick with worry? Dig down, stir it around, and find where the fear lies. Prod it, poke it to roaring life, and ride the wave of terror. It will last all day, boiling my innards roiling with acid nausea. Until I’m home, and I know that all of us are safe. Until I can hug my child, and know that a maniac killer hasn’t invaded the school, and shot my golden son into an early grave. Until I can hold my husband, and know he hasn’t been mown down by a drunk driver, swerving wildly to avoid a hallucination. Then, only then, does the fear settle and turn over into a restless sleep. But the spectre of family future ghosts through my mind, and I tremble with the fear of what puberty will bring us all. Will I still recognise the little boy I have loved? Or will I have to turn him over to the police one day?

The fear, it is never completely still. With mother and brothers thousands of miles away, I can only rely on the façade of email and the fakery of phone calls, to assure me that they are well and alive. The boys – I don’t worry as much about them. They’re vital, healthy, with families to support and protect them. They’re okay, and that fear has died for lack of oxygen and exercise.

My mother. Dearest to me, now she is alone. So alone, and so far away. Worry for her wracks my heart, almost as much as fear for my son. Worry for her – falling, hurting herself – shreds me. I try not to think of her, wandering through that house. For it is filled with memories and my worries and so many ghosts – of my father, of our childhood pets, of our childhood selves even, running and screaming and laughing and crying. All the tempers of our years linger still in every beam and fibre of that house. And the worry that these ghosts will overwhelm this tiny woman, and her tiny cat, in that big empty house, filled with ghosts. And worry.

Filled, finally, with love realised.