An unnatural fear of corners.
Tonight we are going to talk about fear. We all experience fear, from time to time, an emotion that precedes humankind, and that usually precedes a danger, a pain, a harm. It is the threat of it, and not it, that make us feel cold at the nape of the neck when a terrible thought, visiting us at midnight, reminds us of some horrid fate to come. I have some experience with fear. Two days ago I happened to be walking at night when I saw a silhouette that was between a wight with a lantern and a nun, all dress in black, but even though I walked as far away of it as I could, I got near enough to see it was just a container with trash. The dry roots of most fears are based in empirical encounters with scary, or dangerous things, like the understandable fear of the sting of a bee; others are not more than imagined horrors. There’s a place for imagined horrors that become real ones because you have been dumb enough to tell others what you are afraid of.
I have what I could describe as an unnatural fear of corners. Now, I don’t mean to say that I get anxious about the thing per se, but maybe to be more precise, that I fear what is round the corner. I fear the edge at the farthest side of the door, opening to the hall. I distrust the margins that the door and the wall have near my sister’s room, as something could pop in my field of vision. I fear the brim of the curtain when I shower, and there’s no-one home, for something could just hold the curtain with its otherworldly extremities and get me. I am then not fond of verges, outlines, rims, confines, brims, and ends, boundaries and delimitations that look suspicious. I just look at them, just in case. Do I fear limits, do I fear ends, no. After a lot of thinking I remember why I am scared of them. It’s because of my Mom.
My Mother’s (and sister) made a habit of scaring me that borders in a sport. She realized that I was a completely nervous fool earlier in life, and she would hide when she heard me coming, and she would wait to just make a short ah! sound. With time she developed a style, and sometimes she doesn’t make a sound, waiting for me to feel being watched and turn around to find a ghoulish head with a smile as wide as a pumpkin, insane eyes, straight hair following the ground. I woke up early yesterday, I made some breakfast, and I was watching something from YouTube on the living room when the faintest sound of something moving in the kitchen made me look. A head was looking at me one foot from the ground, she had crawled up the basement stairs in all fours, without making a sound, just to make me scream and almost stab my tongue with a fork.
I can’t help but to look over my shoulder now when I don’t hear any sound, because I am genuinely waiting for a fright. If I shower in an empty house, I have to keep one side of the head shampooed and the other not, because I need one eye at the door. This inevitably fails as a system from time to time, and I get horrible pain and red eyes. When I lived in the dark attic, with many doors to places unknown, I used to imagine what would it be to find at the end of the attic stairs, going down, all of the sudden, and apparition; I would think, wouldn’t it be funny to see something just getting inside the door hole, slowly? Something that wasn’t animal or human, but that wanted me to see it and scream? It’s a strange feeling, silly, a what if. If that happened, what would I be able to do. I thought about that thing looking at me blankly, not menacing or smiling, but just doing its job, and preventing me from getting out of the attic. Someone entered the shower while I was humming a ballad, and I just saw some hand getting in and clasping the curtain, I screamed with one hand covering my eyes to avoid the horror, and the other guarding the little pride I had left. I screamed, almost fell cowering to the corner. I faked it a little, wishing I would be scared no longer. A mixture of pride and shame followed that day when Ma boasted she had gone too far, ‘he almost ends up dying stiff.’