Marie was frozen to the seat of the taxi. Jason assured her she would not get hurt as he held her hands and helped her out. The day was warm and the sky a clear baby blue. Children ran and played games while the mothers sat talking together on the benches in the big city park. Everyone seemed happy and unafraid as they enjoyed the beautiful day. But Marie could not catch her breath; everything was spinning as she tried to focus her eyes on the scene in front of her. Jason guided her, holding her arm as they moved very slowly toward the small grove of trees in the middle of the park. Her eyes were glued to the ground and her body shook with each baby-sized step forward she took.
“Marie, please look up. You have to face this fear,” Jason told her, “our future depends on this.”
Marie knew she must face it, but she didn’t understand why she just couldn’t avoid having contact with them, this phobia had been with her forever so she felt there was no way to overcome it. But she did know that without conquering this terrible fear she would never be able to move into the house they had just purchased. It was the house of her dreams, a beautiful two-story old clapboard farmhouse in the country with a pond and a horse barn on a two acre wooded parcel. Worse yet she thought, what if she did move in and they broke into her sanctuary and attacked her while she slept. Letting go of the fear was important but she wasn’t sure she could do this.
The two of them finally reached the bench under a large burr oak tree in the middle of the park. Every inch of her body trembled, her stomach turned flips and she was positive her fiercely pounding heart would explode out of her chest. She sat down keeping her eyes closed tightly; afraid one of them would come up to her and she did not want to know if they did.
“Can we just go, I’m not ready to face this just yet, we can come back tomorrow,” Marie pleaded almost in tears.
“No, we’re here now no more putting this off. Okay Marie, two of them are coming over towards us. Be brave, you have to come face to face with them,” Jason whispered in her ear and then kissed her cheek tenderly. “Here give them this, they will be grateful to you. Just hand it to them, they will take it and leave, it is all they want. They won’t hurt you,” he assured her as he held out a bag and guided her hand to it.
Without opening her eyes, her hands shaking out of control she felt for the bag. She groped the inside of the bag to find the objects that were on the bottom. Opening her eyes halfway, holding her breath, she extended her arm out with the offerings to the visitors who stood without moving in front of her. The two dark figures quietly scrutinized her head to toe, and then glanced at each other. One seemed to give a nod of approval to the other; then they each quickly grabbed the offerings from her hand. Marie then opened her eyes completely to watch the squirrels turn with a flick of their bushy tails and disappear up the oak tree.
Copyright © 2010 Eileen A. Partak