A Place to Store My Fears

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The fear flooded through my veins, invading my body. I was frozen, but the tears continued to crash down upon my knees. I pulled them in tighter, holding onto anything I could. My heart was pounding now, and my breathing was so choppy my lungs began convulsing. I lay there, a broken pile of fear and heartache, hiding in the corner of the waiting room. The moment the phone rang, I curled up tighter as if I could shield my heart. The room filled with tired, tearful eyes. I watched as they stared aimlessly at the phone, begging for good news. Yet, we were forced to wait longer; forced to endure the pain of oblivion. I watched the clock change, hour after hour. I could feel my stomach twisting, my heart dropping as if someone punched a whole through my chest.

Across the room, my mother’s eyes stuck to me. She watched as I fell apart from the seams, all of my fears oozing onto the floor. As much as she shared the feeling, she couldn’t sit back and watch me break apart so easily. My cousin’s arms felt like fire on my skin as she pulled me away from the floor. I looked up at her and watched the fear melt away in her eyes. She held my hand, and then held the locket which was hanging around my neck.
“I have an idea,” she whispered, then left my side. Moments later, she returned with a notebook and pens. In the midst of all the worry and fear, I forgot about the gift my father had given me for times like this. My cousin tore strips of paper from the notebook and began to write down wishes and prayers. I couldn’t think of what to write, not while my dad was lying somewhere in the hospital with such a high chance of dying. Not while the doctors were speaking of cancer and possibilities. Not while he wasn’t here to tell me not to be afraid. I sat in silence, opening the locket and closing my eyes, remembering the history of the silver locket resting around my neck.

The house was enveloped with a sweet, warm smell of homemade birthday cake. There were two envelops lying on the table, one had my name scribbled in my mom’s hand writing, the other with my name scratched in the corner. I wasn’t sure who the later was from, but there was something in the envelope besides a card - something in the shape of a heart. Hours passed before I could open the two, and I saved the mystery for last. Once I finally tore the card open, a small metal heart fell to the table. I pulled on the chain, and held the piece in my palm. It seemed as if it was made just for me. Finally, I opened the card again and read the message. The last line echoed through my heart like thunder.
“Have the strength to conquer your fears. Love, Dad”
Though we rarely talked about more than how our days were or what I needed help with in math, my dad somehow managed to know my biggest fears, and the locket was a place to store them away. I wrapped the locket around my neck, and kept it on as much as possible. The locket followed me throughout the years, tucked safely in a drawer or hanging from my neck. The locket provided a place to store my hopes and prayers, my wishes, and my deepest fears. Throughout band competitions, first days of school, and every moment that I needed something extra to keep me strong, I had the locket.
Sitting on the hospital floor, I realized the locket was my link to my dad, no matter what the situation was. I scribbled down a prayer, asking God to keep him safe and healthy, and wrote exactly how I felt. I folded the paper and placed it inside the locket like I had done many times before. Although it wasn’t much, having the locket around my neck kept me at ease. I fastened the chain safely around my neck where it belonged, giving me a comforting feeling of hope and security.





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