In response to the Daily Post writing prompt Fearless Fantasies
It was a curse. People didn’t understand. They admired how daring she was, how nothing frightened her. She’d gone bungee jumping when she was 16, sky diving when she was 18. By the time she was 20, she’d done almost everything dare devils tried. She’d even gone walking on the beams of crane, and on the structure above the top floor of one of the sky scrapers in a city she wouldn’t name for fear of being arrested for reckless behaviour. She’d done the car chase thing and she’d been skying with professionals where avalanches were known to be a risk. It didn’t scare her. Nothing did.
She’d visited the world and done everything that should have frightened her. That frightened most women her age. She’d traveled the entire world with nothing but a backpack and some small change. She wasn’t afraid of being robbed, of being abused or threatened, of breaking a limb, of getting lost, of being in a place where she knew no one, of not being able to speak the language. The truth was that some of these things happened. Nothing that needed explaining. After all people would have been scared on her behalf and would have wanted her to come home and cowered under the blankets. Still even after it happened – a couple of things two or three times – she still didn’t become more careful, cautious. She remained fearless. Reckless?
She’d called her family and friends throughout her world tour – internet was such a great discovery – just so they wouldn’t be afraid, except one time. She waited to look more like herself. Or rather, she waited to be able to talk an walk without help. Jumping from a train – as slow as some trains in South Asia could be – hadn’t been scary; but neither had it been particularly intelligent. Even she knew that. But when dared, she tried. See? Reckless. Stupid even. So after that even, she decided that she needed to do something. She spoke with the doctors of the city she was in; they advised her to see a certain ‘wise man’. At least that was how she understood the concept; she might be fearless but that didn’t make her a genius at understanding languages.
When she met him, she figured he was a shaman of some sort. Her leg still broken, it was painful to take the cab and it was even more difficult to sit down to look in his eyes. But pain wasn’t fear. The man – thankfully – spoke English; raised in a well-off family, he’d had an English education. But he’d felt compelled to serve society in a way that his parents didn’t understand. He had to let go of his fear to follow his passion, what filled his soul. Helping people. She explained that she had no fear; that it was why she came to see him.
It was a curse. She was trapped in that endless cycle of doing things just on a dare. Trapped in that endless need to do everything people didn’t want her to do. Even the shaman didn’t quite understand at first, until she explained. And he realized she would like to introduce a sense of prudence in her fearlessness. That it wasn’t so much recklessness and sheer stupidity. Together they meditated. For how long she didn’t really know. Time had no meaning except in the slight unease of her leg. He invited her to stay in the small guest house so she didn’t have to take a cab back and forth. She agreed. Nothing to fear from the shaman; he was here to help her. Besides, he was friendly. He explained to her the concept of chakras and how her recklessness might have something to do with a wrong alignment. In fairness, she didn’t understand it all. But she embraced the teaching, the lessons and in the end, she stayed for a few weeks, visiting the hospital regularly to have her leg checked and then the cast removed.
Surprisingly it was when they removed the cast that she felt a twinge of unease. What if she couldn’t use her leg normally? She would have to be careful if she wanted to continue her travels. She’d been here a while; but could she take the chance of leaving right away? What was that? Doubt? Fear? She hadn’t realized but she almost laughed out loud. Prudence had woven its way into her mind. She would wait for a few days, thank the shaman and then be on her way. One more country and then home. She had to start studying to get a degree. Being fearless had given her some visibility and there was money at home, kept for her by her parents, but she had to get a job at some point.
Being fearless would be a bonus. She was 23 and would be older than any kids in her class. But who cared? Time for a new adventure. One that didn’t necessarily involve scaring everyone. In fact, she very much liked the idea of doing something like the shaman. But the other way around?