I never thought that I would be staring at the nemesis that plagued my life after eighteen years. The very bully who had tormented my adolescence. Fearful of ever leaving the house or looking out the window, knowing that he was out there watching and laughing deeply at the fear he instilled in me. I had always knew that he could feel my pain and enjoyed his victories over the years. His towering presence. His unchanging expressions. His solid framework. I would never be able to beat him. Until now.
Things had changed over the years. I was bigger, stronger and smarter. Yet I continued to feel his presence watching over me as I slept , worked or played. I'd try to minimize the effect he has had on me but knew that until I was able to confront him again I would never be able to take a step on my own. I'd dream but never try. I'd talk but never start. "One day I'm gonna" became my motto. My life had become a series of under-achievements. Low expectations meant never truly failing. I was afraid. I didn't believe that at thirty-one years old I would be still wrestling with the very thing that I feared the most. I haven't slept in almost two weeks. He is always on my mind. I had to see him again. I had to beat him.
His face had remained. His frame was as solid as ever. His towering presence was not as I had remembered. In fact, he was much smaller. The one hundred foot pine that had confined me was truly only twenty feet tall. I still sat hesitating. A failure of this magnitude may destroy the will of a man, change his dreams but I know trying would make me feel better. It had taken me a very long time to build up the courage to climb again. I couldn't help but feel that if I was able to get to the top without falling years ago my life would be dramatically different.
I unhinged the metal legs that had made me feel safe for years. As I locked the wheels on my chair I stood. It had been a very long time since I had attempted this feet with any true effort. If I had I would have been expected to take a step forward possibly even having to follow through with something. I grabbed the lowest limb and paused. There I was about to conquer the very thing that had confined me too leg braces and a wheel chair. The one who had left me partially paralyzed for a majority of my life.
I hope I'm able to sleep tonight.
© 2003 Stephen C. Rose, all rights reserved
appears here by permission