Questions and Answers
The question that you are afraid to ask is the question that you have to ask.
The fear means that it is important to you. It works like a signal, alerting you that something is wrong. Also like a signal, if not dealt with right away, it jangles incessantly, muffling everything else.
Amid the din, you speculate: the pros and cons of asking. The possible responses. Worst- and best-case scenarios. Tones of voice. Timing.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." You cannot do otherwise. To not ask that question is to live in the jangling, to feed the fear, and ultimately, to lose the thing you think you are preserving by remaining silent.