Meet my good friend Thomas Fraid.
He was born a Fraid, he was raised a Fraid, but god willing he will not die a Fraid.
He lives with me in our cozy apartment and he rarely leaves the house. Maybe I keep the fridge too well stocked, or maybe the comfy Swedish couch of ours is all too inviting. Maybe he wants to go out into the world and fulfill his dreams, but it's only tucked away in his foamy bed that he seems to remember that he has dreams at all.
My other friends—heck, even my other roommates—don’t actually believe that Thomas exists. Sure they’ve talked with him at parties, liked his online posts, even shared a bathroom with him for years… Alas, he’s just the aloof sort of type, spending so many hours alone trying to write that most people forget to pay him any mind.
Thomas, like any sane New Yorker, has many a crippling fear. First and possibly foremost, he has the utmost terror for the train.
Thomas is so terrified of public transportation that he has to sit down, close his eyes, and pretend to sleep should he have to take the subway somewhere (even when you're standing right there with him). Inside, he is wide awake and you can see his eyes moving wildly below the lids as he listens intently for his stop. He has so perfected the guise of sleep, adding occasional head nods and sonorous snores, that you are often shocked when the doors swing open and he stands right up and a warm seat that was his becomes yours.
Then this past weekend the radical notion came to his conscious mind of how delightful it could be to read a book while on this daily grind.
"A book,” he thought. "Why, those are one of my most very favorite things! If I read while I am on the train, perhaps my mind will rest at ease.”
It’s true: the chap does read a lot, maybe even more than he writes. His eyes gloss over, his smile grows wide, and there’s no end to it in sight. That afternoon he squeezed a book into his pocket with some strife, then went right back to watching a documentary on aquatic life.
On Monday he managed to pull the pocket-book out and rest it on his lap. Tuesday came, and would you believe it, he opened the book’s front flap! Then on Wednesday he cracked open one eye, but shut it very fast. Thursday was next, and he managed to get both eyes open to stay at last.
Friday night, he got home real late, even though we had something planned. He told me he finally opened his eyes and read the whole book he had on hand. And that was the first time that Thomas Fraid had been known to miss his stop. It was also the first time that a Fraid called fear the façade that they could drop.