John looks at the question out of the corner of his eye.
Wyatt had said John was afraid of nothing on Earth.
Wyatt had said John would have been more wise had he been afraid of himself. This last had always been said with a smile, fond and amused, but weary.
John had a great deal he could have feared. Death. Incapacitation. Pain. Bad Luck. Bullets. Jail. These possibilities he learned to live with, adjusting for them, taking them inside himself until they were gone and he had learned to use their presence in others to serve him.
In truth, he was afraid of Wyatt.
The other things he had subsumed. He had let his fear transform into certainty and expectation.
But of this he could not let go. To want is to fear. To hope is to fear. To look forward is to fear. Because they are an investment of feeling. And if they do not fulfill themselves that feeling will bankrupt itself. John saw this possibility clearly. And dreaded it, but he could not accept it, could not kneel and offer himself one more time to fate. It meant too much - loss of those investments would have broken him, he thought. Instead it was the fear that ruined him. And he betrayed himself, lost it all.
He feared Wyatt.
He should have feared himself.
And a great deal of what he valued in Wyatt was John's own trust in his friend.
Had he left Georgia because he feared Mattie, or himself? He had been so young then, but he had been right. And Mattie had remained with him.Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 270
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