I stopped at the edge of the curb and shifted my cane in to the position it belongs in while I wait to cross a road. There was no sign of any traffic, but still I didn't cross; something was holding me back.
A shiver ran down my spine, and I couldn't decide if it was due to the bitter wind that was biting in to my flesh; finding its way through the fabric of the thin jacket the sun had fooled me in to thinking would be enough, and making the fingers of my bare hands sting, or the tight knot of fear that had settled in my stomach; twisting and coiling inside it like a nest of restless vipers.
I took a step backwards, away from the curb. I couldn't do it. I wanted to, but I couldn't.
As I turned to head back home I heard a soft whine from near my feet.
"What?" I asked, looking down at Kero; of course, I couldn't see him, but I always look anyway... It's a habit from when I could see, and besides, it's polite to look.
He whined again, pulling back in the direction of the curb.
"But..." I protested, attempting to take another step in the direction of home.
He whined again, and continued to pull in the direction of the curb.
I stood there for a moment, trying to decide what to do. I'd done the walk to this point a few times, but I'd never gotten up the nerve to cross the road to the park's entrance. I knew if I did Kero would expect to walk around part of it, and I wasn't sure I was ready for that. I could do it; I'd done it three times during mobility lessons while my mobility officer watched from the park's entrance. But still I was reluctant. Still I was afraid. I wanted to go home.
But Kero was still standing by the curb, whining softly and trying to pull across the road, and as I stood there I felt sorry for him; it must be awful, I thought, to see the thing you want so badly and not be able to get to it. So many times in the last couple of weeks we've headed in this direction and turned back instead of crossing the road; sometimes before even reaching the point where we need to cross.
"Alright... Come on then," I said to him, reluctantly turning back to the curb and again positioning myself and my cane ready to cross it.
This time when I was sure the road was clear we crossed; Kero excitedly pulling me across as though worried I'd change my mind and turn back after all. But I didn't change my mind. We kept walking, and within a minute or so were walking through the archway entrence to the park.
This was what happened yesterday.
There was more to it, like the neighbour who stopped us so she could admire Kero, the neighbours walking their own dogs who stopped to say hello, and the other neighbour who took a bit of convincing before he'd accept that I was able to cross back across the road by myself (I'm pretty sure he stayed put to watch me across actually).
Not to mention how I managed to take Kero around the grassy area I'd been practicing navigating during my last couple of mobility lessons, back out of the entrence of the park, and home without any issues; even finding our gate by myself without difficulty (I'm getting pretty good at finding the gate).
I was scared; monsters were trying to force themselves out of the dark corners of my mind and in to the front of it, and I was barely keeping them back. And I was cold; my hands - especially the one holding my cane - were aching and going numb by the time I got home (as I said, it was sunny, but a lot colder than I'd thought, so I hadn't dressed as warmly as I should have). But I did it.
I'd managed to get to a point over the holidays where I could walk to the corner of the road and get myself home (I was able to do it by Christmas). I knew the walk beyond that; my mobility officer had left me to do different parts while she watched from a distance for a couple of weeks now. I just couldn't bring myself to do it and would make excuses; always genuine reasons in a way, but ones that wouldn't have stopped me if I hadn't clung to them as reasons not to have to do it. In short, I hadn't done it because I was scared. But Kero knew I could do the walk, and this time he wouldn't let me turn back... I guess he decided it was about time I faced my fear.