Antisocial's Nightmare

May 15, 2009
Sheer terror coursed through my body. The object of my second greatest fear was resting no more than five feet away, and I could hear my heart pounding. Somehow a wretched noise forced its way past the panic constricting my throat. The figure that was generating my trepidation smiled at the terror-laced sound. Or maybe it was a grimace. Whatever the expression, it did nothing to diminish my fear as the last notes of “Silent Night” slipped off my tongue and ceased to echo through the halls of the nursing home.

It was Christmas morning, and our entire immediate family, along with a good portion of extended family on my dad’s side, had decided to spend it singing at the nursing home in Greeneville. Singing, I can handle. Family . . . sometimes. But I was well aware that one of my biggest fears resided within the walls of that building.

I do not have a phobia of germs, medicine, or darling old ladies who enjoy caroling. I have a phobia of people. In fact, I don’t do well with any living thing. Flowers wilt at my glance, cats cower and hiss, and people scare the daylights out of me.

This is just one of the very many examples of when encounters with humans struck fear in my heart. Often just the thought of interacting with people is enough to make my blood run cold. Books are much safer.

But I digress.


I began to realize something: it was Christmas. A lot of people had been taken by their family to spend the day, but many were left here without a single visit. They were, perhaps not forgotten, but alone. Alone in a building full of people.

I was still terrified, but slightly more sympathetic. Almost like an arachnophobic understanding the struggles of a spider.

We had moved to the next room, and I had somehow managed to be right next to the bed. As we launched into the fifth “Silent Night” of the rather noisy day, I got to see the woman up close. The look of pure joy shining through years of abandonment and loneliness on her face melted my heart. This was why I came. This was why I endured hours of extended family, why I could smile as my brother murdered the high part near the end. This was the reason I could sometimes find a way past my fear. I was indeed blessed beyond the curse.





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sjschreck said...
Jul. 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm
Very Good!! Give us more!! Hope to see more of your writing.
 
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