The others laughed and gathered around closer. There was a dozen of us, we were all in a good mood (though Tim was a little lost), and we didn’t mind that anyone else within earshot knew about it.
“I keep telling you, it’s all Mary’s fault,” I yelled to be heard over the din of my friends enjoying themselves. “She’s the one who kept insisting I face my fears.”
“I never thought you’d actually listen,” Mary snapped back.
Everyone laughed. Even Tim.
“Why today, after all this time, did you finally decide to do it?” Larry shouted to be heard and then patted me on the back to let me know he was cool with my decision, but just curious about the details.
I shrugged. I honestly didn’t have a definitive answer to his question, but all eyes were on me, and I had to give them something.
“I guess I just replayed various events in my mind, and I kept hearing all of your voices in my head…”
“There are pills for that!” Cindy cut me off, and everyone laughed again. It was really nice to see my friends laughing and enjoying themselves. Even if it was at my expense.
“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted…” Cindy stuck out her tongue at me, and I shot her back a wink and a smile. “I thought it was as good as time as any, so I just went for it.”
My mouth was dry, so I grabbed for my cup and took a long sip. I noticed everyone was waiting for me to continue, so I put down my cup and nervously fiddled with my glasses.
“I was just tired of sitting around waiting for life to mess with me, so I decided to grow a pair and take control of things.”
Josie, normally the quiet one, let out a loud “Whoop!” and pumped her fist in the air. That made me smile and feel a little less like I was on the witness stand.
“I grabbed the shovel, climbed up onto the roof, and decided I was going to clear away all the ice and snow before it had a chance to leak through the ceiling again, flood the bathroom, and cause another of my infamous panic attacks.”
Almost simultaneously, my friends broke out into hilariously ridiculous (or at least I hoped they were hilarious and ridiculous) imitations of how I look when I got all stressed.
I liked Josie’s the best. She was on a roll this afternoon. What in the world had gotten into her? I made a mental note to investigate that once the hoopla of the day had died down.
“So how did it all go horribly wrong?” Mary asked, which seemed fitting since she was the one always pushing me to face my fears.
“I got cocky,” I admitted. “I thought I had the world by the balls, I started talking a little trash about how Winter wasn’t going to get the better of me, and I lost my balance. I promptly slid on the very ice I’d gone up there to conquer, shot off the roof, and landed in the foot of fluffy white stuff next to the house.”
They all cringed, but then laughed. How could they not? It was typical me. King Klutz.
Mary grabbed the marker from Tim and began to sign the cast that ran up the length of my right leg. “I’ll make sure not to write anything about facing fears or your inclination towards a life of klutziness.”
Everyone laughed and one of the nurses came in, yet again, to ask us if we could just try to keep it down a little. It was, after all, a hospital.
“I might’ve failed at facing one of my fears,” I declared quietly because I was certain the nurse was lingering just outside the door, waiting to bust us for violating the noise laws, “but this has made me realize that I don’t have to worry about one of my other more serious ones.”
I could see they all wanted to ask, and it was finally Thick Tim who got up the courage to pop the question. “Which fear is that?”
“The fear that I’m all alone in the world and no one loves me,” I answered as I looked out at the smiling faces of the people I cared about so much. “I’m just sorry I had to fall off my roof, break my leg, and bruise several ribs to learn that lesson.”
They all laughed again. My leg was itching like crazy, but I couldn’t have cared less. I knew that there were plenty of people in my life willing to scratch it for me, and for the first time since falling off of my roof, I allowed myself to cry.