Friday, August 29, 2008

Writer's Block #5

"Describe a time when you were afraid of something that wasn't real."

I made this one up because for some reason, this memory came to me today as I was sitting with Papaw at the hospital. (He's doing fair by the way. Very confused. His temperature is down though.) I don't know why I started thinking about it. Here goes....

When I was a young thing, about 8 or so, my brother and I were at home with a babysitter. I won't mention her name because, well, I don't know why. It's not her fault. Anyway, it was getting late that night and we were watching a TV movie. Pete had already fallen asleep (he was about 3 or 4 at the time) and I begged to stay up and finish the movie.

The movie was called "David." It was about a little boy (named David) whose parents were separating and competing for his love. I can't remember all the details, but it seemed that the parents were trying to get David to want to live with each and both were doing things to get him to "love" them more than the other. The boy's father decides to take little David to Disney World. On the way there, Dad goes to a convenience store and buys a gas can & gasoline, matches, cigarettes, and some sleeping pills. They end up a hotel room for the night to rest up for David's big day which he is overly excited about. Dad gives him a sleeping pill, telling him it will simply help him sleep better. He takes it and promptly passes out on the bed. Dad then pores gasoline all around the room and on the bed around David. He pores a trail of gas out the door and into the parking lot. (You can guess what happens next). He lights a match...

In the end, Dad goes to jail and David miraculously survives with severe burns all over his body. (In reality, he wouldn't have had a chance.) I don't know why Dad did this awful thing. Maybe because he thought that if little David was disfigured, Mom wouldn't want him. Or maybe he was selfish, thinking that if he couldn't have him, no one could.

I guess I was at an impressionable age then, because from then on, I was terrified of someone coming into my room while I was sleeping and poring gas on my bed. At times when I couldn't sleep or would hear noises at night, I would cry. On a regular basis, I would go to sleep with either an arm or a leg (or both) hanging off the side of the bed so I would be able to "feel" it. Of course, I was perfectly safe and there was no reason for all this anxiety, but my young mind didn't know any better. I think I did this off and on for years. I eventually began to think I was crazy or something. I knew I was being ridiculous, but in the back of my mind, that small amount of fear made me subconsciously let my leg hang off the bed. I eventually got over it. But I still think about it on occasion. Remembering how scared I was. Looking back, I think it's a bit ironic that the little boy's name was David. Maybe that's why it effected me so much. Either way, I'm over it now, if you're wondering.

I do have random, anxious thoughts about things on occasion. I'll find that my mind begins racing with all these scenarios of things that could happen and how I'll react to them. Things like what would happen if a family member had a car wreck and was seriously hurt, or what if Wes was at school and someone was there with a gun, or what if my parents get hurt at work. How would I find out about the event? Who would be the one to tell me? What would I do? How would I react? (Think about how you found out about 9/11. Where you were, how you reacted.) Sometimes, I'll have a physical reaction to these thoughts, usually when I'm alone. Of course my mind only races like this when I'm driving, trying to sleep, etc. Times when I'm not mentally engaged. My new friend Juliet told me the other day that she does this as well. I'm sure everyone does this in some form. But I'll bet that not everyone is driven to tears from these baseless thoughts. Don't think I'm crazy, it doesn't happen every day. But it's more often than you would think. Sitting in the car for a while or forcing yourself to sleep late at night, your mind starts to race and the "What if?" scenarios start coming. Then later in the day, my mind goes back to that thought and I'll think to myself, "What's wrong with me?"

I don't think my anxiety and this movie experience are related. Well, maybe just a little.

1 comment:

Juliet said...

I've been so bad about this with the storm coming! "What if...." goes through my mind with all kinds of scenarios. Good to know I'm not crazy... or at least not the only one! :)

I'm still praying for Papaw. Keep us posted. I hope the birthday celebration goes well tomorrow morning!