I am familiar with fear. Thunderstorms, darkness, unknown destinations all trigger my heart to pound like a jackhammer breaking new ground. My strength shrinks like the muscles of an old man no longer bearing the weight of a family to feed. No longer fighting to survive. No longer holding him up over the woman he loves. There are days and nights when he speaks to no one, when his feet never leave the blue plaid slippers his wife bought him ten years ago, when the only light penetrating his room has forced entry through the faded threads of curtains that he never parts in fear of displaying his helplessness and grief. Fear is his constant companion but never will it ever be his friend.