Germophobia

[Word count: 840. Approximate read time: 3-4 minutes]

I dated the sweetest girl in my 20s. Perhaps if I was sweeter to her, we might have stayed together. But I was working at home one day when she decided to surprise me and stop by. As per usual, my dual living-and-working space was a mess. I was caught off guard by her presence, but glad to see her. She walks in visibly excited to see me at my desk, despite my work-disheveled state. I am no knight-in-shining armor today. What is she so happy about?

If you asked me, I’d say the girl’s in love. She would have to be. Only someone with that kind of madness would do what she was about to. I was in the middle of a number of thought processes at the time. And although multitasking beyond a certain point for me is like being drawn and quartered, I had to pull my focus in, snap into action, and protect her.

She walked in and sat down in the middle of my bed, rested her soft purse by her left thigh, and began to lean slowly to her right like a sexy, caramel-skinned Tower of Pisa. As it dawned on me what her intention was, a miniature explosion of panic detonated in my head.

“Babe, wait!” I exclaimed, only scantily cloaking the wildness of concern from my eyes.

“Yeah?” she paused with her smile still intact.

”Don’t lay down yet. Let me get you a clean pillow case. I’m pretty sure I slobbered all over that one this morning.” I expected her to jump to my level of sober disquiet. Maybe even thank me for being considerate she was not wearing her hazmat suit that day.

Instead, she hardly lifted a brow before responding melodically, “I don’t care,” in her light, sweet voice as if recalling a lyric in a catchy tune she heard on the radio that day. And then, like a kamikaze pilot, she came crashing down out of fiery skies into my pillow, face fearlessly pressing to the impure fabric. My eyebrows lifted off into space. Pathogen possibilities be damned. She continued smiling at me with a mix of feline defiance and childlike fancy as she snuggled into a comfortable spot and let her soft unruly curls settle around her at the crash site.

My face was a cocktail of disbelief, whimsy, and awe. It was like watching Kevin Costner slow-motion dive in front of Whitney Houston to take a bullet in The Bodyguard. I had hardly seen anything so romantic. I didn’t know whether to clutch my knuckles to my chin and coo “awww,” or pump my fist and say “hell yeah!” She’s not afraid of germs? I thought all women were afraid of germs! It was the bravest thing ever.

Coiled into a girly S-shape before me, I saw what courage could look like. For one simple gesture of fearless love, I thought she was the moon and the sun, supple and strong, cotton candy sweet, yet more powerful than two Cleopatras. Who is this ass-kicking superheroine on my mattress?

“It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of insanity.” —Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian in The Matrix Revolutions

I don’t know about you, but personally, I could use a good dose of this kind of crazy. This kind can stand up to what most others fear and sing a song in its face. It isn’t afraid of a little dirt, a little discomfort, a little disagreement, some awkward situational conflict. It does not magnify the remote fear that some microscopic enemy may enter at a weak place and be the death of me, my entire silent ruin. People who lack this special crazy feel they are covered in weak places; their only remaining choice is to run and hide.

Though “crazy” is the pharmaceutical name for it, over-the-counter, it’s more commonly known as bravery, confidence. Those that have it say, “yeah, I can handle this.” They see challenges and dubious situations and they proceed anyway saying, “this isn’t gonna kill me.” As long as the percent chance of failure is under 100, they will make an attempt. Mark my words. I’m gonna be like that.

It’s been almost a decade since I was Sexy Carmel Pisa’s scatterbrained boyfriend. But she left her mark on me. I now have a practical, and mildly disgusting reminder to, first, get in love—with something. Then, the tiny spores of things that frighten me and make me want to recoil can be dealt with. I’ll remember that instead, those things need me to press my face into them defiantly. Then smile with an unbroken gaze and dare them to pose any further threat. Now pump your fist and say “hell yes,” for this grand revelation came from a pillow with a wet spot.

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2 thoughts on “Germophobia

  1. My supreme personal struggle is with fear. I am fearless with EVERYTHING in my life but my heart. I’d rather have pain I am familiar with and have learned how to protect myself against that to go out and get some fresh and new rejection. I feel you on this. It may be what keeps me single forever. That and the fact that no one tries to date me 🙂

    • (1) You need to move because I know where you live, so I know you do not want anyone who lives there to try to date you. (2) From what I understand, the power that comes from fearlessness is addictive; you get a little and you’re GONNA want some more. So (3) I don’t think your heart fears are long for this world. I bet you’re gonna be just fine, Money.

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