The priest willed me to step forward.
But I cringed and took two steps backwards.
“Come on now Brother Cole, you can do this” he said as he stretched out his hand with a reassuring smile across his face.
I took deep breaths and placed my right hand in his.
“Even I am scared of the water” he said.
“I’m not scared of the water” I replied softly. I was now shaking visibly.
“I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the …”
He was about to immerse me fully into the water when I bit his arm and leapt out of the water running and shaking.
People around tried to stop me but I didn’t listen.
I ran for a long time until I was exhausted and sat down under a tree still shaking violently.
I had watched my own mother get drowned by my evil father and since then I had trusted no one.
To place my trust in the Priest not to drown me was me being vulnerable and that’s what got my mother killed.
“I’m sorry God, but I don’t trust even You”.
It was two days to our wedding when I got a call from my fiancé.
“Hey darling!!!” I said with my usual enthusiasm as I picked the phone.
I could hear him sniffing, was he crying?!
“Baby what’s wrong?”
“I’m…I’m ss…sorry Claire.”
What was he apologizing for?
“Baby, talk to me”
“I have a son and a daughter with my wife”
I heard the click of the phone.
That was the last time I heard from Duke.
Two years later, it was Dexter.
He had just proposed to me out of the blues.
And even though I wasn’t sure,
I was already 30 years old so I said yes.
Few weeks later, I got the shocker of my life when I got the results from the hospital where we went for tests.
Dexter was always against us going to the hospital but I stood my ground and he reluctantly followed me all the while grumbling about how he didn’t see the need for tests.
As I stared at the results, I screamed.
The room was moving in circles and my head was throbbing.
“My life is over!!! Why didn’t you tell me???
I could have married you. You wanted to have unprotected sex with me Dexter! How could you?!!” I cried as I hit him hard.
“How do you tell the one you love that you’re HIV positive?”he replied.
There’s no such thing as love.
I realized that painfully when I tried again with Harry but he turned out to be a lying cheat.
After him, I shut my heart.
The thing about a shut heart is,
Nothing goes in
And nothing flows out.
So no beauty comes in,
But at least the pain stays out too.
It cost too much to be vulnerable.
I’d gone through so much pain, I shut the valve of feelings.
And there’s a certain peace and calmness you get when you give up.
I had that.
Now just when I had mastered how to live alone and accepted the fact that I was gonna be single the rest of my life, Paul comes along and starts winking at me.
Sending me flowers and all sorts of gifts.
Waiting for me everyday on my way to work so he can have five minutes of my time.
I’ve screamed at him,
And cursed him.
But he won’t go away.
I almost ran him over with my car yesterday
And he was still calm.
Pleading with his eyes for me to hear him out.
“I adore you Claire” he says all the time.
On Sunday, I went to church after a long time and heard the Pastor preach on the power of vulnerability.
And as I cried as he preached and laid my fears on the altar,
I found peace.
I can’t let my past barricade my future just because I’m too scared to be vulnerable again.
I’m gonna give Paul a chance.
Because I deserve to be happy.
Vulnerability is strength; a risk that we all must take.
If you always run from things that scare you,
Sooner or later you are going to run from responsibilities and run from life itself.
You wanna guard your heart and not jam it up with a lock.
And the best way to guard your heart is by keeping it open…
Let it flow…
You might get hurt sometimes
But at least you would have lived.
A person who is always afraid to risk things cannot live or love or hope.
And what’s the point of living if you can’t take risks?
You won’t die from being vulnerable.
But you can die from shutting your heart.
Thanks for your time, I love you for reading ☺