Tag Archives: Jim Walters

Acrophobia

as a young child

i had no fear of heights

i liked to climb

in the woods behind our house

i’d look for perfect “climbing”trees

ones with knots and branches

for hand holds and sure footing

a tree made a great hiding spot during hide and seek

because noone was looking up

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the house we lived in for a while

before the bank foreclosed

was a “Jim Walter’s Home

one of those houses you get for a bargain

because its not complete…you are supposed to finish it yourselves

it was one of those things my dad just never got around to actually doing

so we had sheet-rock walls and bare rafters the entire time we lived there

i discovered early on

if you climbed into the top of my bedroom closet

you could easily get up on the rafters

i would carefully, quietly walk beam to beam

it felt safe and peaceful

up there above everyone

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there was this one piece of plywood

that the original construction crew had left behind

it was big enough for me to sit and play

sometimes when i was in trouble

(i was in trouble a lot)

i would go up there to hide

i was sure no one else could find me

much less get up there

so one time when i was in major trouble

after my tongue lashing

when my dad went to get something

to do the non verbal part of my punishement

i ran to my closet and up i went

i curled up on the plywood and cried myself to sleep

i was startled awake by being picked up by one ankle and dangled upside down

above the straight drop to the floor ten feet below

my dad was yelling as intensely as i was crying

he kept swinging me and threatened to drop me if i didn’t stop crying

i knew enough not to take his threats as empty promises

it took biting through my lip but i stopped crying

the metallic taste of blood calmed me somehow

i escaped with a beating instead of a fall

but the fear remained

~Melanie Blackwell

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