The fear that I feel

This hate, that you show me, I can defeat
love is stronger than hate

This rage, that you throw into my face, will not appeal me
my smile is stronger than rage

But the fear, that you feel, I can understand
I feel it as well

I feel it when a veiled girl is sitting in front of me on the tram and an old woman is sitting next to her, looking at her dismissively.
Don’t say it, grandma, please don’t say it. I don’t know what to do, if you say it, I don’t know how to react, how to help. I’ve went through it in my mind so many times, I’ve thought the scene through, I’ve thought of a thousand helpful, protective, heroic answers, but now, in this very moment, I’m scared. Just don’t say it grandma.

I feel the fear when I hear about ships. Ships filled with hopelessness and grief. Helplessly they sway on the sea, are exposed to wind and weather and cannot land anywhere. There is nothing I fear more than this deep black sea. I see it in my worst nightmares and I wonder where people take the courage and the strength to leave their safe life behind and pull orphans out of the black water. I sometimes don’t even have the strength to get out of bed in the morning.

I feel the fear when I hear powerful people speak. When they use big words or none. When they shout loudly or whisper silently to their neighbour. It’s so difficult to understand you, politicians. I am scared of every one of your gestures, your hate-filled glance, every inhuman word. Don’t you see that they hang on your every word? You can direct them and lead them and everything you do is stir up hatred. Everything I say vanishes. Everything I don’t say haunts me at night in my sleep.

Where do I find words when my fear has swallowed them? Where do I find the strength, when fear smothers me? Where do I find courage, when all I want to do is hide under my blanket?

Everything I have is my smile and a bit of love. A bit of love for you and me, when the fear is about to eat us alive. When it makes us do things, say things, that make the world even more fearful. Here, take it and hold on to it. Maybe love is in this moment everything we need. Maybe it can keep our fear company, accept it and say tenderly: It’s okay fear. You can be scared. And if you can’t be a hero today, maybe you can be one tomorrow.

Maria Tramountani

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