It is inevitable: I begin to live with the terror. I begin to live with the fear.
The terror is brief, sudden, transient. It wakes me up from nightmares, it makes my heart race and makes me run and hide when I'm in my office and I hear familiar footsteps. It is a finite resource. It exhausts itself.
The fear is the hard part. The fear goes on forever. When I wake up in the middle of the night, it is the fear that keeps me awake, staring into the darkness, listening to the blood in my ears, seeing ghosts in the shadows.
I live in the balance between the two. Fear spiked with terror.
The terror comes when a friend tells me he's planning to come find me in my office. I have a public work calendar. He would know when I'm there.
The fear is when I sit in my office and stare at my phone, wondering what I should do if he comes to find me. Should I use it to call for help? Or should I try to beat him with it? I envision both of these things, taking no pleasure from it, just letting the fear draw up an endless list of pros and cons and what-ifs.
The courage comes months later.