Sasha K. Lotnikee

United States

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The Color of Fear

August 16, 2014

PROMPT: Unrelated


Mommy says we have to go to the dentist. I don't remember going there before, but Caylee, my best friend, says that it's scary. Really scary. But Mommy says, "We have to go, Sarah," so I guess we have to go. So I grab my favorite stuffed animal, a koala named Roscoe, and walk out of the house. Mommy gave me Roscoe for my birthday when I was two. I think it's cute. I choose my favorite flip-flops, the ones with the glittery seashells, and we get into the car. "Mommy, I'm scared." I don't want to put Roscoe down. "Honey, it's just the dentist. All Dr. Brown is going to do is look at your teeth. No pain." I don't believe her, though Mommy is nearly always right. I hold Roscoe all the more tighter. In the car, I look up at the huge, gigantic skyscrapers. Daddy works in one, counting money. I think. Mommy calls him a banker. Usually, I love looking at them and trying to count how many floors there are. But today, they seem like monsters. We arrive a a tall building. I don't want to get out, but Mommy makes me. "Sarah, put Roscoe down and get out! Our appointment is in two minutes!" She gets this look on her face where her eyebrows are all curvy and she doesn't look happy. I guess I have to get out, but I still don't let go of Roscoe. I can't leave him here. Mommy gets this look on her face that she calls "exasperated", whatever that means.

We go in, and it feels weird. It smells like a new car inside, and it's all quiet. There's no Caylee, girls like me. The floor is the color of vanilla milkshakes, and there's chairs everywhere, with seats that are the color of Mommy's hair. I stare at my glittery flip-flops and try not to think about it. Mommy has a good idea. "Sarah, wanna play the color game?" I nod. I love the color game! "Can I start?" "Sure!" " color of the lady's high heels is the color of Aunt Kimberly's wedding dress." Mommy smiles. "Good one! The color of the receptionist's necklace is the color of old ketchup." I giggle softly. "The color of the sofa is the color of Roscoe's fur." Mommy and I keep coming up with colors, and it's fun until somebody calls my name. It's a woman about Mommy's age, only with hair the color of butterscotch. "Sarah Thompson? Sarah, come here sweetie!" She calls. I don't like anyone calling me sweetie except Mommy and Daddy. I frown, even though Mommy pokes me. I'm not moving. I have no idea what she's doing, but Mommy goes into Dr. Brown's office, and soon comes out with this man with glasses the color of the sticky licorice Caylee and I bought at the carnival. He has no hair, but his smile is as wide as a banana. He also has this white dress the color the marshmallows, only with black buttons in front. Mommy sternly calls me over, and I walk over slowly, dragging my flip-flops against the floor. They're the color of the sky on a good day, only the glitter sparkles. Dr. Brown bends down and looks me in the eye. It's not scary, only it's weird. "Sarah, do you know what the color of fear is?" I shrug. Fear? I have no idea. "It's clear," he continues. I'm surprised. Clear? "It doesn't exist. If you push through fear, you won't feel it anymore. You don't need to be afraid, Sarah. It's fun." He stands up, and I follow him. I walked out of the dentist that day with cinnamon flavored dental floss, a sparkly green toothbrush the color of mint leaves, and with the knowledge that the color of fear is transparent.

I look into the mirror, remembering all this. That was eleven years ago. I'm now fourteen, and I have brain cancer. Roscoe still lies beside me in the hospital, where there are tubes going into and out of my body everywhere. I know I might die soon. But even so, I'm not afraid. 'Cause I know the color of fear is clear. I just have to push through.


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