when i was eleven years old i felt afraid of a boy for the first time. my older brother had grabbed a pen of mine and threw it on the floor of our rental kitchen. his anger seemed to drive a piece of this plastic pink shrapnel to graze my leg drawing blood. as he towered three inches above my height i felt afraid. i promised myself that day i would become braver. i would never let another boy make me afraid. after he threw the pen down my pregnant mother bent down on the floor and gathered the pieces in her palm. she used a piece of grey duck tape to fasten them back together and gave me the pen at dinner that night. i have rarely seen my mother get as angry as she did at my brother that day. the day i confessed that i was afraid. she told me fear was normal and inescapable. but someone who is close to me shouldn’t make me feel the bad kind. i have always believed there are two types of fear. the good fear is the before-date fear, the moment in the air before you hit the water off of a rope swing, and the before the curtain goes up jitters. that is the fear that i have often. but the bad kind of fear is the raised hand, shouting voice, curl yourself into a ball fear. and i told myself long ago that the person who made me feel it next would pay. when my brother said sorry for breaking my pen, i forgave him. i smiled and the next time he invited me to play his favorite video game, i agreed. deep deep inside i had secretly thought that perhaps this bad fear would not come again. would not make me feel chaos ripping into my insides. for those who say that love is the most powerful, let me tell you of fear. fear stops controls and molds. fear reduces men into cowards. fear takes a hold of a woman whenever it is dark and she is wearing a skirt. i am not here to debate the fairness of this or to argue that fear is more powerful than love even. they are at constant war and odds. i am here to say that the bad kind of fear has come again. three years later i find myself gripping my bedsheets in clenched fists and angrily blaming the person who introduced me to him. the person who is in the middle of this mess. a selfish part of me argues that it is her fault and if only she had listened when i told her that he was no good. no good for her. i felt the bad fear again. let me tell you of a boy who is ugly not by his outside but by his inside. the inside that causes him to shout words that shatter the walls of encasing happiness that has cocooned me safely into this place. this bad fear has chained itself inside of me now, telling me i will be better off leaving in a year and never returning to school. this is the bad fear that caused me to have a panic attack while murmuring that he wouldn’t hurt me….would he? i know for certain that he is living a life balanced at the edge of a knife blade and that he has made me feel more bad fear than anyone else. now let me tell you of the girl. the girl who i called my best friend. i knew she was hurting and so months i tucked my own hurt away. i didn’t tell her about my rising ocd and how i am figuring out how to put a therapist on speed dial. i have not told her that there is this great black monster inside of me that i nor the internet can name. i have not told her of the fear he made me feel over and over and over again. when did i give him permission? she says she won’t chose sides and i know that written inside of the lines there is this message: “he is before you.” and so when i said i wanted distance i wanted her to argue. to not accepting the fate that she has been given and to argue. to fight and try to change destiny. she accepts. i never do. and so when i asked her if she was free wednesday i was asking her to come to a place that none of my other friends have ever been. and when i canceled our day together i said i was busy and the lie felt wrong as i typed it. but the simple truth is that she will always chose him over me and i will always try to fight when she has given up long ago. i call it distance but others call it an ending. i can’t be with her when he makes me feel the bad fear. i can’t make myself un selfless when i tell her not to chose. but by god i want her to because then it won’t be my fault we are over again.

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