Challenge #01720-D259: High Alert LevelsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction3 years ago


I may be a coward, but I will not let that define me. -- RecklessPrudence

My name is Val, and I'm afraid. Every day, every minute, all I can think of is the worst possible consequences that result from my actions. You might call it anxiety. I don't think it's anything as mild as that. I have a mechanical clock as an alarm, because what if the power fails in the night and all the electronic stuff doesn't work? I sterilise my toothbrush in-between uses because every time you flush the toilet , poop bacteria gets literally everywhere. I have bars on my windows because what if burglars... but they're the ones I can undo from the inside because what if fires?

I obsess over health news because what if I get sick? And I fear going to the doctor, because... what if I'm dying? Everything I eat is natural, and I take multivitamins, and I exercise because I never, ever, ever want to get sick. And every morning, I'm scared to read the health news because what if I've been doing it wrong?

I carry antibacterial hand sanitiser and baby wipes everywhere. I never go out for fun, because that's how you get murdered. I can barely go out for work, but I have to because everything costs money. I'm that person in the office you never talk to, who has their lunch in their work desk drawer so that the office lunch thief doesn't help themself, causing me to go into hypoglycemic shock and die because I can't trust vending machines or restaurants. It's a scary, scary world.

I'm a coward. I'm afraid of everything.

I barely talk to anyone. Because when you talk, little bits of spit go flying from your mouth and they could land on me. For all I know, you have the next plague. And I never shop in Whole Foods because all the Granola Moms who go there don't believe in vaccines and those places are the next ground zero for bubonic ebola or something. I never drive, because cars are the biggest killer next to guns. I don't take public transit, either. I bike everywhere. With all of the safety gear on. And little body cams in case of drivers who think it's funny to run cyclists off the road.

The world is not safe. I know of everything that could go bad.

I throw out food the instant it's expired. Or the instant it looks even very slightly off. I don't want to get food poisoning. I have panic buttons all over the place. On my phone, on my computers, on my person. Everything you have that could make you safer.

And I'm still scared.

But every day, I get out of bed and navigate my day. Work. Shopping. Getting there and getting back. Devoting my time to entertainment that can at least divert my mind from the fear for a few moments. Checking and re-checking every safety measure I have. And every day, I make it back to bed and the nightmares I have every night.

I'm afraid. I live in fear. And the thing I fear most is the day when all my fears will be over.

When I stare down the Grim Reaper, how will He judge me?

Am I brave, because I faced my fears for all my life? Or am I just a coward who could have done more?

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / 72soul]

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