Fears, Explained

After A. Papatya Bucak’s “I Cannot Explain My Fear”


I have a fear of spiders, snakes, and bees. At my favorite brunch spot downtown, a bee kept flying around my head even after I wished it away. It landed in my mimosa moments later and drowned in the sweet nectar of orange juice and champagne. The waitress brought me another. I have a fear of red ant piles. Once, my grandfather accidentally stepped in one while mowing his yard. When the little bites didn’t heal on their own after weeks, he went to the doctor, and they found cancer in his bloodstream. I’m afraid of swimming in the pool alone, swimming in the ocean without people close by, and floating on an inflatable in the river. I saw a movie as a kid where an alligator came up from under the water with its mouth wide open and swallowed the relaxing woman in one go. Their death roll scares me, too. 


I have a fear of thunderstorms. The thunder causing the house to shake makes me think of a picture falling off the wall and giving me brain damage. Motorcycles and scooters scare me. Two tires don’t create enough balance to protect my lack of it. I’m scared of restroom door handles, gas pumps, and restaurant silverware. I have a fear of Russia. I didn’t sleep for two days when there was talk of going to war with them. I live in a major city– we would be an easy target. Asteroids, meteors, and falling satellites make me scared. I have a fear of dragonflies after they were used as a way for the dead wife to communicate with Kevin Costner in the movie Dragonfly. Ghosts, ouija boards, and the dark scare me, too. When I visit my mother’s grave, I’m afraid each step I take near a headstone to get to hers is going to make a ghost angry and follow me home to punish me. I’m more afraid my mother’s ghost won’t visit me. 


I have a fear of scales, carbs, and calorie trackers. Shopping for jeans and little black dresses gives me goosebumps. I’m afraid of fireworks because of a Fourth of July celebration that ended with everyone fleeing from the outdoor venue because of a possible active shooter. I’m afraid of ditches because it was hard for me to climb out of the one we hid in once the police arrived to secure the area. I’m scared of Easy-Bake Ovens because I don’t know how they work. I cannot explain my fear of scarecrows. I’m scared of AIs, my Amazon Alexa, and the camera on my laptop because they’re probably spying on me. I’m worried I made my sister afraid of deer because I make her look out for them when I drive in the dark, terrified of hitting one. When I was a kid, I was afraid of dogs because they were loud and liked to jump. My family still makes fun of how I used to be now that we have a dog. 


I have a fear that the gum I swallowed when I was seven is still in my stomach. I’m even more scared of the idea that my stomach won’t hold life in it after being on birth control for ten years. Relationships and love scare me. I’m afraid of marriage because my mother was miserable during hers. I’m more afraid of divorce because she was too heartbroken after her marriage to love again. Airplanes, cars, and buses scare me, too. I’m afraid of the words “no” and “yes” but prefer to say “yes.” I’m afraid of Costa Rica because my boyfriend wants to propose to me there. Sharks, iguanas, and rogue monkeys live there, too.