Standing on my best friend’s doorstep, looking up at the falling rain, I wondered how it had come to this. Another year was over and I didn’t want to let it go. So much had happened; good, bad and in-between. My mind jumped over the memories like snap shot photos and I was filled with happiness.
Sighing, I wondered how I was going to move on. It was a strange notion because nothing had actually changed nor would do in the coming weeks, expect for the dates. Why did I feel like this was such a big problem then? I rubbed my head and decided I was just being silly and I should let everything go.
The door opened behind me, party music and shouting voices drifted into the night. I turned around frowning and saw my boyfriend standing there.
‘It’s almost midnight. Come inside,’ he said.
‘No,’ I answered, ‘you come out here.’
I held my hand out and there was a moment where he almost pulled me in and I tried to pull him out. He stepped over to me and we held each other. Someone shouted out the number ‘ten,’ and other voices joined in the countdown.
Muttering the numbers under my breath, I drew my boyfriend closer and he started saying the numbers too. We were wrapped together, smiling at each other, breathing in the cold night air. Reaching ‘one,’ we kissed and welcomed in the new year.
Toby told himself not to be afraid. What is fear, but a cycle? If he broke the circle everything would be fine. He took a deep breath and tried to escape the growing anxiety. He told himself that this situation was easier to handle then it seemed. He just had to chip away at the problem and break it down like a stick of candy rock.
He felt the heavy chain of phobia wrapping around him. He selected one of the links and tried to separate the small metal rings. He believed if he could do this then he would be free. The rings were too strong, just like their neighbours on either side. He shook the links and felt panic rising in his stomach as the chain tightened.
Toby tried to think of happier times, calm places, or a funny joke. Anything that would take his mind off and away he tried to call towards him. Running from the fear didn’t help through. Everything became stronger, more intense. He saw colours swimming before him, the wind rushing in his ears. He felt as if he was on the highest mountain of the world looking down into a tie-dye coloured sea.
He thought about that scene from The Christmas Carol movie, where the ghost comes to visit and he was covered in chains. Toby felt like that. The chains were restraining him, locking him into the fear. He thought about an evil hand wrapping around his chest whilst mad laughter echoed in his ears. He tried to stop such thoughts, strongly aware that they would only get worse.
He breathed, shut his eyes and willed himself away for a moment, just so that he could have some space. Toby’s felt like his head had become as crowd as a circus tent on opening night. Escaping that, give him some time to re-collect himself. He relaxed as much as his rigid body would allow and thought of himself sailing away in a boat.
Oddly, the image began to work. He dreamed up the small white topped waves and the waving breeze. Alongside came, the pale blue sea stretching forever and himself at the front of the wooden boat looking ahead. He could hear the water lapping around him and smell the salty air. He breathed deeply, filling himself up with the ocean.
As he slowly opened his eyes, the image faded and felt the fear ebbing. The chain that had been holding him was at his ankles. He easily stepped over the loose links and walked away. The phobia can be controlled, he thought with the ghost of a grin on his lips, and all moments pass.