Olivia Zimberoff

Creative Nonfiction
Applause Literary Journal - Issue 33 Submissions

Burnt Toast

            I was 17 when I got over my fear of sharks. Great Whites had haunted my dreams and lurked in the corners of my mind when flying over any body of water or before jumping into a pool. (Not that I ever went in a pool because you know, sharks…) Time and again, I would wake up from a nightmare clutching my arm or leg thinking it had been taken like in a Sharknado scene (haven’t seen it) or worst of all Jaws (haven’t seen that either). Do you know that saying you are more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a shark? I’d never been comfortable with those odds because I knew I could be next.

            Now healed and 20, I have uncovered a new fear. Alarms. Anything from an aggressive doorbell to a weather siren that goes off due to a bunch of sharks rising from the water, I think any extremely loud sound is, well, alarming. In my college dorm, I have a bright red fire alarm that spells out FIRE in more luminous white letters just in case I need an extra reminder to get the fuck out of the room while it’s blaring.

            As a partially deaf person, when my hearing aid is out all hell can break loose, so in the off chance that I was the real-life El Deafo, my fear of alarms comes complete with a terrifying strobe light. Every time is like the first time. Terrifying.

            This has all led to the present of melodramatic heights and includes me sleeping with my hearing aid in and one eye open. So I’ve agreed to accept the fact that I am afraid of alarms, even if they exist to save lives and limbs. But sometimes I think it may just be easier on my psyche to consider being burnt toast.

Olivia Zimberoff is …

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