Conquering of Fear
Length: 1141 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)
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For as long as I could remember I have had a chronic fear of crashes at high speeds and that my best friend Joseph has never feared anything. He would jump off the Eiffel Tower if he got the chance. On the day that I would finally conquer my fear I was in the back seat of Joseph’s uncle’s Ford Expedition with the whole seat to myself. If I were to turn my head around I would see the large speeder boat the car was pulling behind it. We were on our way to the Delta Marina. Our plan was to go tubing in the water. The only way we would end our turn on the tube was by flipping over and crashing into the water.
The road began to get rocky and the smell of wet wood was in the air. We finally reached
the loading point for cars with boats. It was not until I was sitting in the boat with my life vest on and I could feel the swaying of the marina water that I realized how scared I was. I was shaking slightly, my palms were soaked with sweat and suddenly I felt as if I had to go to the bathroom very desperately and the engine had not even been turned on yet.
I sat in the very back of the boat facing the front. When I saw Joseph’s uncle put the key in the ignition I almost instinctively grabbed the closest thing to my hand. To my surprise I had grabbed Joseph’s arm who had sat adjacent to me. I recoiled with great embarrassment. Joseph said joshingly, “Oh Adam I didn’t know you felt that way.” Then he laughed, but I was too caught up in my mistake to laugh or even notice the engine had turned on. The sudden acceleration surprised me so much I almost fell off right away.
It took a few seconds, but I got use to the speed and even began to find a peace in the
wind and the sound it made as it rushed by my ears. I sat in a very scholarly position with my hands folded and my back straight up. I looked over at Joseph and saw him in a reclining position with one hand holding a soda and the other hanging out the side of the boat feeling the water that the boat pushed up in large cascades as it cut through the once calm currents.
I tried to relax as Joseph did, but I felt as if all my muscles and joints had made up their minds to stay put until it was my turn to test my courage.
Within a few minutes the engine was turned off and the boat came to a halt. My peace was lost.
All my fear that was carried away with the wind finally caught up with the boat as it
stopped. Joseph’s uncle turned around in his rotating captain’s chair and asked us who would go first. My courage was at an all time low. I became lost in a daydream. I did not notice how distorted my outside appearance was. My mouth was hanging down and my jaw tilted to the left revealing my dimples and wrinkling my forehead. When I realized a long pause had passed I noticed Joseph and his uncle were staring at me with disbelief. After another short pause Joseph finally stood triumphantly as if he just won the World Series and was ready for his victory lap. I figured he was going to volunteer to go first. This lifted the unbearable weight that plagued my shoulders for what seemed like an eternity. “I vote Adam goes first,” said Joseph. I was so stunned by this. I was skeptical to believe he said it. When his words finally registered with my brain Joseph’s uncle had already finished fixing up the rope that would pull me. All that was left was for me to climb on to the tube and hold on. Before I stepped off the boat Joseph gave me a pat on the back and whispered into my ear a phrase that I will never forget, “If you whimp out I’m gonna kick your ass.” I had known Joseph for years and knew that he would never do that, but his words gave me courage. The pat on my back punctured a hole in me that leaked fear and his hand transferred an ocean of courage, his courage. Out of no where I felt I could jump off the Empire State building without flinching. I got on to the tube without so much as a stutter. My new burst of confidence shocked Joseph and his uncle as much as it shocked me. Slowly the tube floated away from the boat and it came to me, this is it. There’s no turning back now. The only thing that compared to this moment between getting on the tube and thrusting forward is at the
beginning of “Saving Private Ryan” when the troops are waiting for the boats to open. The
whistled that signaled the soldiers to get ready in my case was the thumbs up Joseph would give me when they were ready to go. Like the soldiers that either died right away or made it to the beach, I was either going to hang on or fall off right away. Joseph’s fateful thumb went into the air. I concentrated all my new found courage on gripping the handles and nearly squeezed it in half. I got such an adrenaline rush when I was flung forward for the first time, I could have lifted a truck above my head. I zoomed at what felt like one hundred miles an hour down a long strip of water. The objects passing by reminded me of when Han Solo sent his ship into light speed and the stars passed with a blurred tail. I was in another peaceful sate of mind. I had conquered the world. I got too relaxed though. My grip on the handles loosened and suddenly the only thing between me and the water was air. I hit the water so quick I did not have time to be scared.
As I floated in the water I reached what might be refereed to as my atonement. I realized
what I had accomplished and now what I could accomplish. Joseph has always been there for me when I needed support, and vise versa. This incident seems to stand out the most for me. After that day I was a changed person. Thanks to the boost of confidence from a good friend I have gone about my life in a cool, assured manor. Maybe some day I will tell Joseph of the great impact he has had on my life.