Hope is a Component of Fear
Hope is a Component of Fear
by Richard Brown
To be fearless is to be without hope. Hope is a necessary component of fear. There are occasions that happen to most people through their life that all hope dissolves and they are left with a cold calm. I had just finished restoring an old car destined for the scrap yard, and the day I got my license. All hope disappeared that evening.
The blue capsule rockets across a black trail, as the sunsets in the distant horizon. The tendrils of wind clawing at the metallic paint, mauling and shoving the Camero as it roller coasters over the gently undulating back road. The engine screams and roars indifferent to the white signs that blur past. The speedometer is pinned on the bottom side of zero wavering and shuddering as the crests of the small hills approach and then slamm. A white needle trys to wrap itself a second time over the printed numbers. The thrill and supreme rush of adrenaline as the tires softly chirp, barely audible over the blood in my ears. My little brother sits shot gun shouting and hollering as our organs were pulled into our feet at the bottom of each draw. Teenage speed records, that are set with first cars, on their madden country road tour; is testifisied. Again, a hill suggests in vain like the wind, that teens should slow down. Again the car floats and the tires chirp, for miles and miles, through wheat country.
As the twilight dims and our eyes dilate, we almost need headlights. An end of pavement sign whizs past. the pavement ends, and the road sinks into inky blackness; a sink hole. It's too late to brake. An attempt is futile, there isn't a half second to do so.
We have an eternity to watch as the road disappears far down below us. We are now suspended on the tendrils of the prophetic wind, wrapping and curling the fingers of death. Grim is carrying us on the express ferry. There is no fear in me. This is death as an absolute certainty. I turn and look down into the night, trying to gauge just how high we are. Through the window I peer down everything disolves into blackness. I turn my head the other way and look at my brother sitting there relaxed. He removes his hands from the dash board. “Sorry bro...” as I turn to watch the high speed crash that is to unfold sometime in the next forever; on a road far removed from a small Podunk town.
This is an arterial farm access road. There aren’t even farm houses along it. The remaining pieces of our bodies would have to be scrapped off the small chunks of metal, that almost combine into a complete car. Sometime tomorrow the scattered wreckage would be found.
The wind tussles and tilts and twists us in serene flight. We slam into the ground with eyes wide open. The nose of the car pitches up gravel. We slide with my hands barely on the steering wheel.
I sit there waiting to float up or sink beneath the earth... and sat there some more... and sat... and waited. Me and my little brother turn our heads simultaneously toward each other with the same expression on our faces 'This is what it's like being a ghost'. Denied even being witness to our demise or did it just happen that fast.
Well the cars in one piece how'd that happen. The seat belt is pretty sore across my chest. Our eyebrows rose at the same time. Aderenaline flushes the calm away. As fast as we were traveling before we jump out of the car, screaming gibberish.
We start surveying the damage to the car, it looks alright. It doesn't look bent any were. It's sitting like it would in a parking lot. A quick check underneath confirms that the suspension isn’t dangling and no fluids are leaking.
A pause to see what had happened. A shallow ditch from the draging car, lead up a slight decline. At the top of the isi gap. A huge sink hole about 20 ft. deep and an unbelievable distance across. We had somehow cleared it and landed on a downhill pitch. But more importantly would the car start.
We run back. The engine warmly purrs. I slowly turn the car around and scrap the bottom of the car, when we rise back onto the asphalt from the sink hole. We slowly bounce home, unknowing of a small hole in the oil pan.
I’m not one to have epiphanies and this is not an exception. I didn’t stop driving fast after that. Maybe, just not so fast on roads I didn’t know very well. In the face of hopeless certain death there was no trace of fear, only a calm acceptance of the inevitable. I have felt fear and it has always coincided with my greatest hopes. Only the hopeless are fearless.