I Have a Gecko Named Anxiety
Would you like to meet him?
He's about the size of an adult golden retriever. He lives in the corner of my brain, lounging on a particularly stout, low-hanging branch. The tree, of course, is covered in vines and flowers, merging with the side of my skull. It's hard to spot, though... no, you'll want to ignore that library, you'll get lost for days. Yes, that one too. Straight ahead, around the fire pit (don't jump in, you won't escape unscathed) and over that bridge. Yes, it looks rickety, but it'll hold your weight. There you go, over the Chasm of Eternal Falling and to your left. No, don't stop. The rustling in the ceiling is most definitely not due to giant arachnids. They're friendly, I promise. Hang a right at the human-sized, mummified, dying creature and... there! You've done it. Do you see him now?
You can move closer, if you want. He sleeps most of the time, emitting little croaks and grumbles while his stubby gecko tail coils around and around that branch. Just don't wake him up. When he wakes up... well, it gets messy. He doesn't like people, so maybe just stop a few yards away. Don't make a sound. He doesn't like syringes, either-- the last time he saw one he screamed for about three minutes straight before passing out.
Well, of course he screams. What else would he do? Can't you feel it? Every time he makes a sound, it translates to a draft of anxiety. When he's asleep, it's a gentle breeze. When he's awake and babbling, everyone within range is about to burst a blood vessel from excess adrenaline. When he inhales deeply, though, you really have to worry.
Of course you'll know in advance. He's part chameleon, so he'll flash some warnings. The last time he sensed a social interaction he turned a putrid combination of pumpkin orange, olive green, and a particularly violent shade of violet. Then he'll take a full minute to inhale-- see that odd-looking patch on his throat? He expands it just like a frog, then screams like one of those videos of a screaming goat until the air runs out.
Terrifying? Him? I suppose, maybe... no, I don't see it. He's a silly, simple creature. Just like one of those little yappy dogs that barks their heads off at the slightest provocation. In fact, it's hard not to laugh when he screams, because, well... he gets such a strange, cross-eyed look, and you can see all the way down his throat. Yep, straight down the gullet. And his tail goes straight and his knees lock. Once he got so panicked he fell out of the tree. He was so shocked he stopped screaming-- although he also got the air knocked out of him, so that may have helped.
How can anyone be afraid of a silly screaming gecko? That's all Anxiety is, after all.
I suppose my greatest fear
is having fakeness poured into me
fill my veins with plastic and replace my
organs with pieces of artificially-coloured glass and chemicals
and when you're done
I won't be able to grow anymore
because the stems are filled with plastic
and the leaves are made of artificially-coloured glass and chemicals
so when the sunlight hits me
I can only reflect it back
and never soak it in
and when I creep into the shadows
I won't feel their embrace
a work drone
happily working hourly
beers after work
the game this Sunday
holding his coffee
the Cheshire Cat
only this is real
the next forty years
seductive with frequent
pay stubs and home loans
I‘m watching myself
as if from above
miming for air
only to be told
this is how I will grow old
I fear my own heart
I’m trying to pry myself away from my stupid heart which wrapped a spiderweb of veins around my body, cramming blood into my hand and making it feel empty without another human clutching it. My heart sprouts roots that twist around my feet, dragging me back to childhood, honey light, and ghosts. Tentacles pulse in my brain, I’m curled up and stupid, sobbing over the goodbyes and graves of ghosts, and the throbbing of the honey light, and how you can’t go backward but only be tugged till your lungs fissure and veins break like dams. Your heart will murder a thousand bodies, then you will haunt yourself. I will not forgive my stupid heart, but I beg strangers and loves to take both me and the tangle of heart, to hold our hands and stare at the pinpricks of dead stars and pretend the sky is the only haunted thing.
There! Is the light at the end of the tunnel. I half heartedly explain to myself. Gesturing with my nose pointing the way. For my arms are pinned to my side. In this shaft none to wide. So thankful am I to have you buy my side. You always show up in pinch. Ms. Anxiety. Though little help have you provided me. What won’t stop bitting me?
I’ve screamed my heart out. (Help me!) To no avail. No doubt sooner or later I’ll probably start panicking and begin to wiggle and wail. Throwing caution to the wind. Until exhausted I lower my chin and settle in. Which will relax my body causing me to sink deeper into the abyss I imagine.
"This will be a miserably slow death" I said aloud. No sense preserving my breath. What’s the chance I’m stumbled upon by strangers? Before dehydration and starvation make me resemble someone strung out on meth. And I slide my way to the bottom of this shaft never to be heard from again.
After many days of agonizing pain. And deeply disturbing thoughts while being pelleted by rain. Sent from the heavens to drive me mad. I had slid so far down while asleep. I refused myself rainwater. In the hopes I’d die rather than go on feeling so unbearable sad. I knew I’d never see my daughter again. And she’d always wonder what happened to dad. That was the lowest I’d ever felt. What hope do I have? I wanted to see her again so very very bad.
As the slot I suffered in soaked it grew slicker. And I slide farther and quicker. I swear I couldn’t see light anymore. For some reason this made me snicker. From here on out me and my thoughts only spoke to question the validity of the others. As I grew sicker. More and more we’d bicker. One beating the other up for giving in and sneaking sips of life giving liquor and vice versa.
The worse was yet to come. I tried not to imagine. And the it happened. I no longer had the girth to resist gravity. Tragically. The thought that crossed my mind as I slide faster. And then magically I felt my arms waving freely above my head for a moment. Had I died or was it a hallucination. In the pitch black I had little in the way of indication.
Just then I felt a breeze. Right before immense pain shot up thru my knees. Then I heard a loud cracking sound. And I passed out a half a second later. I am told that’s how I was found by some miners in a golf cart doing their rounds. Making sure the shaft was fully evacuated before activating the explosive charges they‘d planned to blast rock that day.
I’d had fallen in an uncovered shaft drilled to exhaust hazardous gas by the former operators of the mine twenty years ago. And the new company only took possession of the abandoned mine a month ago. After the price of ore went thru the roof. If it hadn’t I’d of died in the endless array of pitch black tunnels surely. Instead of waking up from a coma in the hospital a week later. To the sound of my crying little lady. Her tears of joy raining down on my bewildered gaunt looking face.
A little unorthodox but..
I could say spiders.
Instead, I'll share my recent discovery of my true greatest fear.
When I was little and depression was only just beginning, I didn't know how to make sense of what was happening.
So instead, I gave that voice in my head a name.
Called it Connie, short for Conscience.
We would talk back and forth day by day.
In a strange way, I knew she was a part of me but instead, she became an imaginary friend for me.
Friend might not be the word for it...
She and I have known each other since those many years ago.
A figure in a black cloak, shrouded in darkness.
I know now that she is me.
I know now that if she rose that hood, it would be my face I see and no one else's.
I always feared that some day, she would come to me, raise the hood off her face and that was the day I would give up on life completely.
I still fear now that I might see her, again.
She was brought to life due to the silly musings if a child that couldn't understand themself.
No matter how grown up or broken I have become, that child is still a part of me.
And so is their fear.
Here's to never seeing her again.
Life isn't the prettiest but I didn't let that voice win then and I certainly won't, now.