“What are you afraid of?”
A question that is a half-hearted attempt to keep the almost dying conversation going, but elicits emotions so raw, and undoes essential parts of your self. It reminds you of the broken promises, sick twists of fate, gargled words that you wish you had said then.
I’m afraid of moving on, mostly because I haven’t had to before. How do I pack eighteen years of my life and tote them away? I already have three suitcases packed with clothes, picture frames and basically anything and everything that will remind me of home. How does it make sense to leave behind friends who have made it easier for me to come into my own? Friends with whom I’ve fought only to realise later that our bond was not something tangible which would snap to never be sealed with the duct tape of a corny joke.
I’m afraid of the collars that chafe my neck when I clear my throat to say something in protest. Every time I undo a button I only come to terms with how little plastic circles can be symbolic of a rebellion. Societal expectations are becoming modern corsets and I’m afraid of how they’re shrinking waists and squeezing minds with the power of suggestion and unattainable perfection.
I’m afraid that I shall leave the world, only having scratched the very surface of my potential. I might fall to the floor, stop breathing and be buried in a secluded corner of a Midwestern graveyard before getting every thought in my chaotic mind on paper. I may not be able to put each one who has impacted me on paper; I’ll go away with half-formed, missing persons in my chest. People who I didn’t get a chance to know better, who are etched in my faint memory as fingerprints on bathroom faucets, strands of hair on the carpet and stains on the table where they forgot to use coasters.
But those subjects are far too heavy for meaningless small talk.
So I’ll be polite and just stick to “Heights”.