I’ve been fortunate enough over the past three months to not be away from my children, my security blankets who blind me from seeing much other than their adorable faces. Yesterday I had to face the world on my own, and in doing so I came into close quarters with more than a few tall, thin, blond-haired, pale-skinned men. I couldn’t tell what color their eyes were, my husband’s eyes are blue, but as I was incapable of functioning in their presence, I couldn’t lift my head high enough to look into their eyes.
For a thrice-weekly Bostonian, this notion is terrifying. I come to the city for my graduate school classes, which I began my second year of yesterday, and it is impossible to not be uncomfortably close to people while using public transportation. I typically walk with my head raised, as my mother taught me, but I find myself cowering in the presence of these males; tall like my husband, pale-skinned like my husband, thin like my husband, and so many of them with the same shade of his Swedish and German mix of blond hair.
My body tightens as I draw my shoulders in, elbows to my ribs. I really want to look at him. Just for a moment I consider the possibility of it really being my husband, but I know that he is over 1000 miles away (unless there is a court hearing scheduled, but he is not due in this state for another two weeks). I realize that I have stopped breathing. I talk myself into moving forward, but cannot bear the thought of looking up. I continue on my path like a timid child through a crowd of dangerous giants, wishing someone could hold my hand and lead the way, like how my counselor helped me out of the courtroom the day I got my restraining order.
I see his arm move past me and my eyes widen with…fear? despair? longing? I want to reach for it and at the same time I want to recoil. A battle rages on inside my head over the contradicting feelings. I do not want to claim this anxiety, but it came over me with such an unexpected strength it cannot be denied. I am afraid of the guys who look like him, walk like him, talk like him, dress like him…is this a projection of my fear of him? I did not anticipate not being able to look into the faces of men with his characteristics. There are too many men with his characteristics to avoid them all.
I have to find a cure for this phobia. I cannot live my life being terrified to look up.