Problem Child

in Scholar and Scribe3 months ago

I have a fear of enclosed spaces. Mum didn’t need anyone to tell her that it was something I was born with. She said that if I slept and she, as silently as she could, dared to put me in my baby cot as an infant, I would not only yell at the top of my lungs, but I would begin to hyperventilate. She said it almost cost me my life one time when a very kind friend that was doing her a favour by babysitting me, made the mistake of leaving me there and hoping that I would quieten in time with her coos and everything.

I have a fear of things that move. Kinetophobia it was called. It was a puzzlement to me why anything that wasn’t human would move. When Mom found me by the side of the road, hours after she’d sent me off to school, she knew something was wrong.

“Maddy,” she asked my frightened twelve-year-old self who after hours of being stuck by the roadside, had been reduced to incoherent mumblings and stuttering. “What’s the matter?Your school is on the other side. Couldn’t you cross the road?”

“W....why....why do they move, Mom?”

“Why does what move?” My bewildered Mom enquired.

“These things. The cars.” I’d resisted the urge to look at Mom then. I knew she’d have that look that spoke volumes. The one that sometimes made me feel like if she knew that this was how I would be, she would have taken that ultimate step. But in classic Mom, she gave a stiff chuckle and said, “That’s because they can. That’s what they're meant to do.”

As she held my hand to cross the road to explain to my teachers why her daughter missed so many hours of school and may miss more in the future, my heart broke a little. I knew what she went through trying to raise me as a single mom. I knew the multiple jobs she had to work every day to put food on the table and send me to school. But here I was adding to her headache. Becoming her problem. Because that’s who I was. A problem child.

I had a fear of people. Anthropophobia is the fancy name the therapist called it, with a slight streak of Scopophobia. I found it rather amusing, that I had these many things and somehow, no matter how bizarre the issues I had were, there would always be some name for it. I’d been visiting the therapist since I turned 12. Miss Mathison, bless her heart hadn’t at least been dishonest to say that I was normal and fears like mine were common. She told me I was different. She told me that the fact that I was afraid of people and was also afraid of enclosed spaces so I couldn’t even be given a separate coverage to view the classes meant that I may never have friends.

But she also let me know that I could learn. I could work on my differences not for the illusion of being normal like the rest but that I could at least own it and not let it bother me anymore. It was why I let James, the first guy who had bothered to get to know the weird girl, ask me out. It’s why I said yes and said to myself that I’d rather be damned than begin to hyperventilate when James held my hand for prom night.

Mom had tears on her face when James came with the customary rented Limo waiting, his famous charming boy smile, a corsage tied on his arm and a bouquet in his hand. I begged her not to be mushy as I fought to breathe as his hands neared mine. When I put my hands in his and didn’t faint on the spot, Mom could have fallen, weeping.

I guess I may have still fainted but charming boys do know their way around these things cause James next words were, “I know I’m irresistible. You don’t have to make it so obvious with that racing heart of yours.” It would have sounded inconsiderate to anyone, but together with that boyish grin of hers to let me know how hard he was trying to make me feel better, I was immediately at ease and even managed to laugh out loud.

With his arms around me, as he won Prom King (I didn’t win Prom Queen, of course), he insisted that we danced to the soft R&B blasting from the DJ’s set. I fought the crawling sensation on my skin and the feeling that my body was being torn in a million parts by a million crabs and let him draw me closer.
“It’s going to be okay,” he whispered. A tear slipped from my eye then. Not because of his words alone, but because for the first time in my eighteen years of life, it felt like it was truly going to be okay for me. Not today, but someday.

It was the perfect night and when I laid to sleep, it occurred to me that I hadn’t lost my shit when he gave me a simple kiss. There truly was hope for me yet. And with that, I smiled to la la land.


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Well I'm not sure if problem child is the right name for the girl in the story, she's more of a special child than a problem child.

It's great to see James has used love and care to make her feel normal. Even if it's just for the night.


Yeah, I was going for the perspective of how she saw herself not who she really was. Thank you B0s. Glad you enjoyed it.

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I feel relaxed and entertained while reading

Thank you so much. Glad it could entertain you.

I can only relate to it

Thank you!

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