This is my contribution to Writing a Thousand Deaths, a project by German publisher Christiane Frohmann. The text is originally in German, I translated it into English, with a little help from A. Jesse Jiryu Davis.
I felt dizzy and somehow it didn’t go away. I tried sitting down quietly somewhere and close my eyes, but that didn’t help either – quite the opposite, I seemed to lose control even more that way. I thought if I think in the wrong direction now my head will tear off.
I was afraid I’d hurt myself if I fell down somewhere around here or hit something. I was afraid I’d pee into my pants again and the new briefcase, which I’d bought only last week, would also be soaked in urine then and wrecked. So just to be careful I took it out of my pocket and placed it on the table beside me, but then I was afraid it would be stolen or simply lost if I’d end up unconscious again and woke up in the intensive care unit.
I realized only later and slowly that the problem wasn’t any of these things I was afraid of, but rather that ever-increasing fear itself, coming out of nowhere and for no reason. What could happen anyway? A new seizure? More frequent seizures? Danger to my professional future? A seizure I would experience consciously, whole or in part, even if I couldn’t remember it later? Which would maybe feel as if you’d gotten yourself into a roller-coaster three sizes too violent. Or a sky-dive, when you fall and the falling doesn’t stop. Of course, something might also rupture in the brain and then I’d be dead the next moment. Tragic, alright, but it’s not that you’d have to run around crying in fear of it.
That fear inside an airplane, knocking on the door ever so mildly during stronger turbulence – I could contain that pretty well by reminding myself of how petit bourgeois it is. That far too exaggerated clinging to your own life. As if the universe would owe me my existence. To realize that, if it ripped off one of our wings now, I couldn’t do anything about it anyway, and whether I’d really want to spend those last two minutes of my life clinging to my seat like a coward.
Not really. So there.