Creative Nonfiction

Fear has always been too close a friend. Always lingering, gripping my hand tightly, whispering into my ear.

But there are moments in time where I must shove Fear away and make room for more welcomed friends--Inspiration and Courage.

And here is the moment.

Because across the cove, a party is happening.

I park my car as I always do and quickly step out into the early evening breeze. Instantly, a wave of noise crashes into me–one that sends my head turning and my eyes focused on the scene I have stumbled upon happening across the cove.

I knew I wanted to document this moment in time, for my memory often fails me and I lack the ability to conjure up the image again in my mind. I think of old memories with beloved friends--small moments shared with coworkers, summer evenings spent on the lake with your closest friends, a morning spent in the sun at the brand new coffee shop down the street...

I think back on these moments, and remorse feels heavy in my mind, knowing that I did not take the time to scribble the sights, sounds, scents, and feelings of these impeccable memories.

I knew this time would be different for me. I call myself a writer, but how can I truly be one if I never put my words to practice. How can I be one if I never attempt to remember--to jot down scenarios that are worth reading?

There he is again, Fear. Hovering in the corner, brooding. Snatching my words from the air, claiming them, convincing me I am not one to write stories.

I wish I could describe it and do it justice, but there are oftentimes when words alone do not suffice. But rather than try to come up with the perfect string of phrases to give your mind an image, I will tell you how I felt the instant I stepped out of my car.

I felt like I left my own world for a moment and stepped onto the set of a movie. I felt like I was twelve years old again, and I was sitting on the couch on a rainy Sunday with my mom as we started yet another rewatch of “Steel Magnolias” or “Father of the Bride.” I felt every warm and soft feeling that I have held deep within me rise to the surface–I felt them all rush to my heart and hold it there, comforting it, and I froze in time for a moment to appreciate what was happening.

As I hold my journal and pen tightly, I let Fear leave from where he is sulking and I watch as he flies away with the geese gliding over the lake. I let Courage and Inspiration take his place as I write the scenery from my dark green, rusty porch swing.

Across the cove, there are rows of white chairs overlooking a glimmering lake. Twinkling string lights are wrapped around tree trunks and dangling between limbs. They hang lazily with a slight droop–one that is orchestrated just right to match the row it is closest to.

There are backyard games. I hear the smack of a bag against wood, marking the sound of corn hole. I hear a symphony of voices gliding across the water and singing along with the breeze–a whisper that reaches all the way to my side of the cove. The sound is made up of every voice and age. The underlying drone of adult chatter with the occasional child’s voice that interjects through the crowd with a loud, high-pitched, “woah!” “mom!” “ha!” 

There is laughter. An abundance of laughter. I hear the booming laugh of an older gentleman that reminds me of my grandpa. I hear the youthful chuckle of a younger man that reminds me of my uncles. I hear a child’s laugh–one that reaches my ears a little louder than the rest. And as I sit outside my home, I feel nostalgic. I feel reminded of my family. I think of moments spent at my grandparents' house on the lake, of the backyard games my brothers and I used to play. I think of loud conversations at the dinner table, accompanied by the steam of hot soup on a cold, winter night. I think of snuggling on the couch as we all watch one of our favorite movies, of the warmth of the fire. I feel a swell of emotions rising up inside of me–starting from deep within my chest and ending at the smile that can’t help but stretch across my face. And that is when I know for certain that Courage has taken Fear's place.

They are celebrating something. It could be anything. It could be a marriage, a retirement party, an engagement party, a birthday party. Whatever it is, it is joyous. I wish I could run across the cove and join them, or tell them to never cease celebrating. The scene looks too good to be true, too perfect to be real–it looks like one I’ve only ever seen through a screen, but now it is happening right in front of me. 

I love the sound of people celebrating, of people enjoying each other’s company, of children playing alongside one another.

It is the perfect evening for a party. It’s July, but there is a fall breeze in the air tonight. I hear the cicadas and crickets and frogs and birds. A sporadic glimmer of a firefly accompanies the yellow, soft string lights the party wears. The evening is simply perfect.

I feel odd admiring such a scene from a distance, but my heart feels full with happiness and gratitude. Happiness that these strangers across the cove captured the most beautiful, unforgettable moment; and gratitude that I get to experience a rare, second-hand type of joy from witnessing their jubilation all the way across the cove.

I hope they keep celebrating and laughing. I hope we all do. I hope we all find time to stop and capture beautiful moments–moments that make us feel like we’re in a movie, moments that make us feel like we’re really living rather than existing. 

Fear is too close a friend for all of us. I hope we learn to keep Inspiration and Courage close by-- that we all continue to find time and moments and occasions and most of all, people, that are so worth celebrating. 

July 28, 2023 20:55

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15:04 Aug 03, 2023

Taylor, The imagery is detailed and imaginative. The plot was difficult to follow. Good luck in the contest! -H.M.Pierce


Taylor Petska
21:08 Aug 12, 2023

Thank you! I had a hard time getting this plot to feel right, but I thought I would submit it anyway just to get my writing out there. Thank you for your comment!


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J. D. Lair
16:25 Aug 01, 2023

Such a relatable story for us writers starting out. I’m glad to see you found courage, and finally silenced that fear too. It takes some of us far too long to get there, and sadly, many never get there. I hope you keep on writing! :)


Taylor Petska
21:09 Aug 12, 2023

Thank you so much!


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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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