Adoleschaphobia

From The Abyss, Winter Solstice 1999 edition, vol. 2.1

Some people despised it because it’s out of their control, or because it’s inconvenient. She didn’t mind those factors. Others avoided it because they were uncomfortable with the mix of classes often present, or because they didn’t like being so exposed to the weather. But such elements didn’t bother her. No, she had an entirely different reason for her discomfort with it. She was afraid of only certain people, people who looked just like everyone else. She felt this trepidity every time her car broke down and she had to take the bus to work. Who would it be this time? The one next to her? The one sitting sideways in the seat in front of her? Across the aisle from her? She kept her eyes fixed on the floor as she took her seat, then assiduously got out her book and held it close to her face to block out everything else. But sometimes even that didn’t stop them. They looked so normal! It just wasn’t fair. They should have to wear a sign, so people who didn’t mind them could sit by them and she could sit far away. It seemed so rude, so invasive, the way they did it, and she never knew what to say to get them to stop. She was intensely aware, throughout the ride, of the motions, the behavior, and the head and eye directions of the passengers around her, the fright rising and falling in her throat like a thermometer on speed. She worried that one day the slightest word would send her into a paroxysm of panic, that she would yell “just shut up!”, shove her book in the babbler’s mouth, and jump out the window. She had Adoleschaphobia, the fear of talkative people.

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