What am I afraid of?

Something should be in my life that isn’t. I think it has something to do with boots. Walking out to feed the chickens in the snow in January in your father’s boots. Something to do with the sun, too. Staring up at the sun, eyes cracking with the light, and not looking away just because someone told you you couldn’t do it. Or maybe its a mixture of leather and pain. A baseball smacking into your glove so hard your hand goes numb.

I fed chickens, but my father doesn’t own boots, or at least not the kind that are cool to wear.

I looked at the sun, but with eyes shut, because of course it couldn’t be done because I read it in a book from the library.

The ball landed in the grass behind me as I ducked to protect my hand and face. Faces are important. Hands are, too.

Am I afraid of death? I don’t know. I’m afraid of volcanoes. I’m afraid of burning buildings. Are Christians afraid of death?

Am I afraid of pain? Pain is hard to quantify. How much pain are we talking about here?

Go out into the snow on a midwinter night. Face the sky. Stand for an hour. What for? Because life is hard. Snow is cold. And stars are beautiful.

Men are made to be battered. They are made to take a beating. Better get used to it, sonny.

Men are designed to take a beating and never show it. Brawl in the mud and still have a clean handkerchief to offer a lady. Men never look so natural as when they are convincing iron and wood to stand upright and provide shelter. Seize a hammer, pound a nail. Hammer slips, pound a finger. Men never look so natural as when their hair is combed and their fingernails are (mostly) clean. Beards are trimmed, ties are donned. Bow, smile, ask her to dance.

Men are made to be strong. Boys are made to be made to be strong. Show danger your face, not your back. Fall down, get up. Make a mistake, get on your knees, stay there as long as you’re proud, then always get back up. Mice are creatures of the ground.

Bones are made to be broken. But they are also made to heal.

Life is always physical, and often scary. I want to be a reader of life, but I forget that I was written as a character. I exist in a single paragraph, and this is the part where I die. Time to turn the page.