Understand. And love.
We’re here. And we care.
“I remember distinctly when I was very young; a distinct memory like a song over-sung. I used to see scary images on the window mesh when I used to wake up at midnight. I used to see faces, mashed up ones, screaming ones, horrified ones, pale ones… scary ones.
I used to hear things, fear the night and fear darkness. I used to feel as if something kept watching me in the dark. I feared any sound that came out of the dark. Ghosts loomed over my head, constantly.
Night time was a scary time, darkness was a scary place. Crying, I would hold out my hand in this darkness and one hand would always reach out to hold mine. In that cold place, one warm hand always held mine to tell me “I’m here.” He kept holding on until I got over that fear or drifted off to sleep.
My brother was always there. When I silently said, “Be there when I’m scared,” his smile would say it all, “I’ll be there when you’re scared.”
He used to say, “There’s nothing to be scared of! If something makes you feel weird or scared, go and find out what it is; poke it with a stick and you’ll see that it’s not scary at all. Or, even if it is, it is fascinating and new. Don’t be scared. It’s really nothing.” Those words gave me courage then. He made sure he was there when ever they wouldn’t.
“There was this time when I was walking the road that led to our back-field. I heard some noises. But I did not run away, or turn away. You know what I did? I went to where those noises were coming from and you know the watchmen? Turns out it was them. They were sitting there laughing and talking. There was this other time I heard an unusual sound. I tried looking around and saw that it was the trees rustling against each other. It really is nothing, nothing to be scared of,” he used to say, instilling as much courage as possible.
There was this one time when I was sleeping alone. My brother and my mother were in the other room talking. I heard a sound that I’d never really heard before. It had a shrill kind of distaste to it. Only, this time, I wanted to see what it was. Yet, I was too scared to do it alone. I called my brother. He came up to me and asked, “What’s the matter?” I told him about the sound and he said, “Let’s take a look!”
We switched the light on and looked around. After five minutes, he came from under the bed with something quite pretty in his hand. He said, “So here’s your answer to the sound. It’s called a cricket! It makes these noises…. No reason for you to fear. Go back to sleep.”
That night, I slept knowing that I was in the company of something pretty that sang a lullaby to me to help me sleep, and not something that was going to kill me.
I won’t say that I was never scared after that, I won’t say I don’t feel scared now, because fear is something that will never leave you. It is something that mankind must learn to live with.
But today, I am not ‘that’ scared kid. Back then, I would say, “Be there when I’m scared,” today I’d be the one saying, “I’ll be there when you’re scared.”
There is a point in everyone’s life when they go from “Be there when I’m scared” to “I’ll be there when you’re scared.”
I’ll always remember this memory, and every time I do, tiny droplets stand at the brim of my eye, ready to jump into the smile that just takes over.”