Close Your Eyes

He doesn’t like to close his eyes.

He blinks. He counts the length of each blink.

He can’t miss anything.

He doesn’t like to close his eyes.

“I want to show you something.” His friend says, “Close your eyes. Just for a second.” They say.

So he does, for a second. He smiles at his own little joke. But no, that’s not funny. He stops smiling and postpones closing his eyes by waiting to be told to again.

Only a second wait.

He closes his eyes again. He can’t see now.

He doesn’t know which way is up now. He feels dizzy now.

He hears something now, a footstep perhaps.

He turns his head slightly. They touch his face.

“No, no, look this way.” They say.

His friend removes their hand from his face and relief washes over him.

Did they notice how squishy his face is? Did they notice how fat he is? Did they notice the way he flinches away from the touch? Did they notice him sway slightly from dizziness? No they didn’t. Thank God.

He hears a noise again. Birds? Dogs? He tries reasoning with himself. He is in a park after all.

He’s in a public park. A public place.

Suddenly he hears more clearly, yet with a familiar type of distortion.

He hears a sound. A Squirrel?

A public park. Public park. Public.

Suddenly the noises are the only thing he can think of. The only thing he can focus on.

Someone walks past. He holds his breath.

Footsteps of an innocent dog-walker?

Far too quickly his mind goes to a much less friendly place. A footstep of a disguised assassin for hire, ordered to kill him. Why him though?

It doesn’t matter. Random people die all the time, why shouldn’t it be him this time?

He doesn’t remember where in the park he is.

Suddenly there are noises all around him.

Suddenly the park is very empty. Empty except for the group of trained killers now surrounding him.

He now refuses to open his eyes because “If I can’t see you, you can’t see me” doesn’t work but “If I can’t see you, I can’t see my impending doom” does.

Where is his friend? What does “friend” even mean?

Suddenly he misses the uncomfortable touch of his friend’s hand on his face.

He can’t see them, hear them, feel them. He can’t find them.

His hand twitches forward subconsciously but his friend doesn’t notice. Because his friend isn’t there.

Suddenly the open expanse of grass he is standing in feels very small.

As he readies himself for death his breathing becomes erratic, frantic, practically calling out for help in its own way.

He starts to shake.

He feels something or someone touch him.

This is it, goodbye.

“Open them. Are you ok?” He opens his eyes like he’s just woken up from one of his frequent nightmares to see only his friend’s concerned eyes.

He looks around warily, still uncertain if he is safe or not.

There’s nothing.

Nothing besides a toddler learning to walk with their mother cheering them on gently.

Nothing besides a few dogs running around chasing after a ball or stick.

Nothing besides innocent people.

People who are nowhere near him. People who are not going to kill him.

He turns back to his friend’s concerned face.

“Yeah I am.” He let’s gravity re-balance him.

All of this happened in less than three seconds.

But he is safe.

He is with a friend.

He is going to live another day.

He, has anxiety.

Written by Max

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