The Taste of Fear

I got a nasty surprise last night when my Dad called saying that the police had reported my brother’s car had been in an accident. I immediately tried to call his phone but it rang unanswered. I tried the house phone but it went to the answering machine. I immediately took the train home and tried to not let my fear run away without knowing any more facts. Still, it was impossible to stop imagining a car accident, hospital and even death.

It came to me that finally I was getting a taste of the anxiety over a loved one being involved in a life-threatening incident. A couple of years ago I was involved in just such an incident while in Valencia. My friends and I were leaving a club and without going into the details here, I got hit by a drunk driver. I had been knocked unconscious. I was taken to hospital, got some stitches and spent the night in observation. For a time it was not certain whether it might have been worse.

However the incident has never filled me with fear or a feeling of mortality. Even right after the incident I showed no signs of shock. I was cautious not to fly immediately but I did end up taking a ferry to Ibiza within only a couple of days so as not to miss out on the partying we had planned. Ah the folly of youth.

It turned out I was in fact too close to the incident to feel the fear. While my friends feared the worse, ironically I was the least worried since it is impossible to worry when you are unconscious. Not so last night. As I ran the streets back home I police van passed me with lights flashing, my anxiety shooting up. Then it turned off down another street and I thought to myself no, the police are not going to be visiting that news upon our house tonight. I trusted that the cops had GPS and were purposefully not driving towards my house. Then a black car coming up the street slowed down as it neared me. I squinted trying to read the number plate. Yes! Some number completely unknown to me. I wanted absolutely nothing new and unknown to me right now. No news is good news right.

I turned into my driveway and there was my brother’s car. That’s something. I put my key in the door but knocked on it anyway to get in as quickly as I could. And there was my brother opening the door for me, safe and sound. He was on the phone explaining to my Dad that the police must have made a mistake in the car owner details. I hugged him in relief. It turns out his phone was on silent and when the house phone had rung he had ignored it. What was he doing at the time? Playing some video game. One can only laugh.

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