Fear 2.0

By Jane Miller

What if I can’t do it?

Would it be better to break up now and call it a good try rather than stay, fail, and watch my relationship with Erik splinter into a million heart-broken pieces? Pictures of the boat frighten me. The cockpit seats, the coaming, the small space between the edge of the bench seat and the binnacle where I lay until Erik picked me up.

I am petrified of walking up the starboard side of the deck to the bow and not seeing the entire right side of the ocean because my right eye is missing. Of hating it … the uncertainty, the panic, the inexperience, the fear … Of seeing the sad disappointment in Erik’s eyes as he looks at me and says, “Oh, Janie, we tried.”

Our friends are concerned. Roy is concerned. Jim is concerned. Massey-Bangs are concerned. Should we listen to them? Hire a crew? Give up Erik’s dream of being the couple who can sail to Fiji, New Zealand, the eastern seaboard via the Panama Canal?

I would rather die than ruin this dream he has had for decades. Maybe for his sake, I should leave? Is it better (braver?) to leave and suffer from one quick blow than stay and cause a lingering, soul-crushing pain, no matter what the other person wants?

Erik has said so. We argued once after watching a movie where the cancer-stricken hero leaves the love of his life “for her own good, for her own future.” He said the man had done the right thing. I said that no, he does not have the right to make the decision for her. Erik said it was an act of love to let her move on with her life.

In my heart, and as our hearts touch, I know he is wrong. I will not leave. I would be even more broken without him, and he’s a better man because of me. If he’s going on the boat, so am I. Sooner rather than later. It’s time.


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