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My good friend walked into my house and her eyes did not look right. As I’d suspected on the phone, she seemed troubled. She seemed really troubled and I was worried about her. I asked if she was OK.

“Yah, I’m OK,” she said. She looked down then. “I want to tell you something,” she continued.

Something reached across the room then and it took me by the heart. I looked at her more closely and that’s when I I knew. I knew that I didn’t need to be worried about her. The person I needed to worry about was me.

Fear started to fill me up then, fill me like water in a swimming pool, getting deeper and deeper. I leaned back against the counter in the kitchen, seeking its solid support, but then just as suddenly it seemed instead like a cage and I wanted to move it, had the overwhelming desire for it to be gone. It was in my way, keeping me too close to her and she had something that was going to hurt me. I needed to get away.

My friend must have recognized all of this because she didn’t waste another minute. She just started talking. She said a girl’s name and asked me if I knew her. I knew the name, but couldn’t picture the girl and I didn’t want her to be asking me this. I could feel that counter again, wanted to shove it hard and get away from those words. My friend knew that she was losing me and so she said my name and that got my attention, scared me even more. I leaned into the counter as this girl who had been with me for sixteen years, since sixth grade, tried to tell me something. She tried to tell me what I didn't want to know, what I could not know.

The counter. I leaned on the counter. Fear. It filled me up. It filled me up just like a swimming pool, deeper and deeper until I was drowning.

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