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Feb 2018
I found Fear on a street corner
with his hands stuck in his pockets
and a whistle between his teeth.
We waited for the light to switch,
for the two of us to go our separate ways
and never meet again, that is until one of us mourns the other.
But as we stood there I clicked my jaw back into place
And nodded up at the large red hand holding us in place.
“This thing’ll never change, will it?” I offered informal banter,
yet Fear turned his shoulder to me and continued
the shrill notes between his two front teeth.

After a moment Fear craned his neck,
the whistling stopped.
“I don’t talk to strangers,” he replied quickly
and returned his gaze to the street light above. I shuffled
my feet and pondered
about stepping into traffic
letting the cars sweep me into the air and take me far away from here.

I had one foot on the dark pavement –
“I wouldn’t do that,” his voice came through the whistling
but the sound never ceased. He didn’t
turn, but through the back of his head I could feel his eyes on me,
tears threatening to spill down his cheeks.
“Getting run over hurts –
getting run over by ten cars hurts worse,” he said.

I stood in silence but didn’t move my foot from the pavement.
“For someone who doesn’t talk to strangers,
you have a lot of life advice,” I huffed and brought my foot back to the sidewalk.
Fear’s shoulders tensed, his hoodie scrunched, the cowl brought up over his head.
In one quick movement, he moved on the ball of his foot to face me,
but only his silhouette came through the shadowed fabric
And he said to me,
“why else would I be here?”
As if he were some sort of god sent
down to protect me?
To keep me from stepping into traffic and–

“You have a lot of nerve -,”
but he was gone and the light had turned, a brisk person in place
instead of the hand.
My neck cracked as I searched for him but
Fear was gone.

And I was left alone with three seconds on the timer before I’d be frozen
in place again with only one foot ahead or behind.
So, I shuffled across the street toward
a destination unknown, and found myself
at the mercy of my own actions.
I never saw Fear again.
Kate Willis
Written by
Kate Willis  22/F/Cincinnati, OH
(22/F/Cincinnati, OH)   
     sky-blue and Simon Monahan
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