The fear began
one night at the age of eight
while walking down the creaky
wooden stairs of my childhood home.
I turned the corner
to face our yard and my eyes
were drawn to a moving figure
with a woolen mask slipped over his face
leaving dots for his onyx eyes.
Like a jelly bean, he jumped
from side to side and signaled me
to come to him.
Petrified, I scurried back
up the stairs, getting railing burn as I ran,
and finally landing into the arms
of my doll sprawled across my bed.
I pulled her towards me holding so tight
as if she could save me from myself.
The truth is, she was the only one I ever trusted.
Yesterday, my therapist told me I was afraid of my shadow.
• • •
When the sun rises in mother’s
town, you can hear
car engines start, children crying,
about going to school while climbing
into the buses zooming up these
suburban streets, but my mother,
a widow for fifteen years, sees only
her quieter microcosm—her cat Lilly
at the foot of her bed, the cyclamens
on the kitchen table awaiting her
weekly waterings, the refrigerator
with four eggs and container of sour milk
and some carrots for her horse. It’s Monday
and she tosses her laundry into
a plastic bag, flings it into the trunk
of her brown Honda and heads to the local
Laundromat where the other
locals await the end of their spin cycles
as they convene on splintered
benches pressed to the frigid window,
sharing news of their world and puffing
on menthol cigarettes, glancing to the left
to the poorer section of town, and then to the right
where the rich folk live. Mom isn’t quite sure
which side of town she belongs on. Years earlier,
her mother left a fur coat in the back of the mothball
closet, in its pocket a diamond ring
she never wore. In her mildewed basement
she houses a washing machine unused except for
emergency funds and family heirlooms in unmarked boxes.
Because of her bunions she wears orthotic
sneakers with long skirts, and much rather
be seen with the laundromat crew who
don’t stare at her garb. They just talk behind her back.
• • •
Diana Raab, Ph.D, is an award-winning author, poet, blogger and speaker and author of eight books. She speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Her book, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, is due out in September 2017 by Loving Healing Press and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. More at dianaraab.com.