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So there I was, trying very hard to lull myself into sleep (not sure if thinking about Daniel Day-Lewis was helping, though) when without warning, an old pal came back, back from the deepest recesses of my brain.

This old “pal” is something I’ve always had, one that has always existed in my consciousness as far back as I can remember. The thing is, this old “pal” has, for the longest time, taken a long vacation from my being, practically allowing me to forget that it has even existed.

You know what this “pal” represents to me?  Yep, the title says it all.  Fear. Not of something in particular. I mean, I do have a couple of fears, like any human being, yes. There’s that metaphysical fear of death (not mine, but others’), a concept that can paralyze me for hours, days, even months, and no, I’m not being hyperbolic. I have seen a paralyzed Frankie many times before and it’s horrible. Horrible and ugly and just all around nasty. There’s also that fear of failure in any endeavor that I may be inclined to pursue, and it can be equally awful as well. Perhaps my current dissertation status (the comeback kid is finally here, indeed) is opening up my own version of Pandora’s box, hence the return of one very old, very concrete fear which, I have, for lack of a better word, now come to refer to as “pal.”

This “pal”, okay don’t laugh for I’m being very serious, is huge tires.

Tires?

Yes. Huge, monster truck tires. Minus the truck.

Am I actually saying that I am afraid of huge tires?

No, no.  Let me put it in context the best way I can.

It’s not just tires. It’s also needles.

Again, am I actually saying that I am afraid of needles?

No, no. Not at all. I have no problem with needles. I’ve never had any problem whatsoever with my sewing kit nor my annual physical exam that would, of course, always involve needles.

Well, there’s just this one needle.  One that is there in my brain.

Imagine for me if you will, the very image of a needle being crushed by huge, monster truck tires. That, for some reason or other, scares the living daylights out of me.

It is an image I have always carried around in my head, in my very being since I was small (think 7 or 8 years old). I never told anyone about it for it sounds so silly. And I never really had any reason to since I’ve always had a handle on my fears, superficially at least. The thing is, every time this image pops into my head, I always have this weird sensation on my chest, like the very air out of my lungs is being sucked out. Like those tires were actually on top of me, crushing me. Not to death, but to oblivion. I don’t know how the needle figures in the entire thing, but for some reason I think of a needle every time those tires begin to tread on me. It’s as if I am the very needle that I also conjure up in my mind.

Let me make myself clear. It’s not a bad dream, it’s not a nightmare.  It’s an actual image that’s just there, somewhere in my consciousness; one that finds the need to pop in and out without my permission. Five seconds, that’s all it takes and then, poof. It’s gone.  But the memory, the sensation of being crushed, and the fear. . . remain.

I don’t know. It’s all so very confusing. It’s always been a mystery to me. It’s been ages since I last had it, this sensation of being crushed and mangled and suffocated.

But as I lay there on my bed, trying so very hard to catch the elusive dream (twofold, of course: dream of a sleep and dream of a certain Daniel), the needle and the huge tires came rushing back—-without pretense, without warning, and without context.

So here I am, telling you all about it.  I guess it’s high time for me to figure out what this thing signifies.

Do I really want to? Do I have to?

Or maybe I can just, like in the olden days, shrug it off and pretend there was nothing. No needle, no tires.

No nothing.

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