I used to be scared of monsters under my bed, ghosts, and going to the doctor. I used to be scared of the dark and of fires in hotel rooms and of climbing walls. I used to be scared of big dogs and roller coasters and spooky stories told at night. I’m over those fears now; I grew out of my shaky childhood worries. But sometimes I wish I were still afraid of those things.
The monster under my bed unearthed itself from that dark hiding spot and came into the light and became an AP exam. The ghosts in my closet no longer keep me up at night, since I’m so tired I fall asleep as soon as I can. The doctor can’t give me any tests that are harder than the ones I face at school. The climbing wall is not as high as my grades have to reach. And no roller coaster makes my stomach turn more than the thought of having to find a career.
When did my future become scarier than anything I could imagine? It’s not something that cowers in the cobwebby corners of my mind, waiting for the darkness and a creak in the floorboards. It lives in the bright light of everyday, hovering in front of my vision wherever I go, but it still makes me want to lie paralyzed in bed and pull the covers over my face. It might not have scary red eyes, but its power lies in its inevitability: it will catch me, and soon.
I can’t hide from the passage of time. So I close my eyes like I did when I was little to block out the monsters. I tell myself that it’s not real. I tell myself that I’ll be okay in the morning. And maybe one morning I’ll wake up and it will be real, the future will have caught me. And maybe I’ll still be okay.