****Author's Note: This short story and its main character (whom I am still unhappy with the name) are subjects I would wish to tackle in a script that deals with severe anxiety disorder along with alot of other things.***
*Blogger's Note: Expect to see a short story every three weeks or so. Oh yes. This is just the beginning. I'll explain myself later.*
I. THE CONVERSATION
There are actually whole groups of people terrified to drive on the road. Sara Littleton was one of these people. Often known to stop into has stations in the middle of afternoon drives. Not to ask for directions. Not even to pump gas. It was in order for composure.
This didn't bode well for her future either. Her dream was to become an astronomer. The closest college being in Arizona. Her fear prevented her from going. Instead having chosen to go to community college for two years and shacking up with a friend she met there named Amy.
The internal monologue that ran through her head was constantly centered on one thing: herself and getting ready to do things. Parodoxically, these thoughts would end up frightening her. Thus leading her own mind to scare the living shit out of itself on a daily basis.
One such example occurring on the night of September 22. It was almost time to begin her nightly 7 pm ritual of engaging in a variety of social networking activities when her roommate started a conversation she was unwilling to participate in. She raddled off the possible options off in her head.
"Wow. Look at the time."
"Could we finish this up later?"
"Could you please leave?"
"Go. Get out. Get the hell outta here."
The moment became so delicate and fraught with social complexity, that she got overwhelmed and let the conversation continue. "Ahem" brushing her hand up against the back of her head. "Um...Amy? I'm kind of in a---"
"Well I was just about to get to the point of it all had you not interrupted me."
"Dan is throwing a party and he invited me. You want to join?"
"It's just off West Crestwood Dr."
"Ah yeah. Is it alright if you drive? I am completely unfamiliar with the route."
"Sure" Sara said in a slightly exaggerated tone. "But you are obviously going to have to fight through this fear of driving to new places."
"I'm trying Amy."
"Still taking Xanax correct?"
"Well hopefully that will help if we run into any problems."
Sara & Amy got in the car and drove off. As they passed the movie theater. One of the few places Sara felt comfortable driving to. Also of note was the sign that said Road Closed On 9/25. Something to store in the back of her mind.
II. THE PARTY
They had arrived at the party roughly around 8. Sara biting her fingernails as usual. Amy being her assured self. Laced with abundant laconic humor to keep herself and her friends entertained for hours. Sara on the otherhand felt the intense claustrophobia of the room. Noticing the vacant couch in the patio, she decides to go there to read her book. Seen as a safe haven from the sheer terror of and going on. "It'll be over shortly." She tells herself. Secretly knowing that parties like this don't just end when you want them to.
As Blue Oyster Cult's Burnin' For You kicks in on the speakers, Dan Parker snorts a line of cocaine off the sink in the bathroom. He exits with a complete absence of self awareness. As evidenced in the cocaine stains on the sleave of his buttoned down shirt. Dan Parker goes near to the patio door to greet his former high school friend Chris Evanston and start a conversation of his own. The conversation tumbles out into the patio.
"10 pm is the best time to have sex with the girlfriend."
"No shit? Where'd ya find this out"
"An article online. It states that by then work week's stress has run its course. She is primed and ready."
Noticing a girl on the couch trying patiently to read, Chris decides to relay a way to calm the already coked up Dan.
"Hey Dan ,you wanna take the conversation somewhere else? This girl is trying to read her book"
"It's a fucking party. What do you expect?
"I expect you to show some sympathy."
"If you're looking for sympathy for me, look it up in the dictionary between shit and syphilus. Now come on, the game's on inside. We're missing the 3rd quarter "
Chris reluctantly walks off with Dan walk off to grab another beer and continue the conversation inside.
Sara's face is writhing with embarassment. Tears start to form and slide down Sara's cheeks. She tries to hide them by covering her face with her book. The world seemed to be staring down at her that very moment. Paranoia roaming around the room.
The exasperated feeling of having ran 20 miles within seconds had immediately taken hold as she was gasping for breath. A tingling sensation takes hold of arms. It is this feeling that pushes her out of the party and into the car. Stumbling through the crowd and feeling with each observant face, a deeper sense of frustration. She gets into the car and texts Amy that she wants to go back to the apartment. Sara downs a Xanax and they leave.
Nothing was truly gained from the experience and even worse, nothing had changed. Only a further sense of desparity.
"Sara what happened?" Amy asks in a worried voice
"Nothing. Just drive"
The conversation ceased from there and didn't start back up until they arrived in the apartment's parking lot.
"Sara I'm really starting to get worried."
"You want me to look into a doctor for you?"
"No. Just... please. I'll be fine."
With that, she ran up to the apartment and locked herself in her room. Burying her head in her pillow. The muffled words "What the fuck is wrong with me? When the fuck will this stop?" being spoken between sobs. This wasn't the first time this had happened. It wasn't out of the ordinary. This kind of thing followed her her whole life. The constant fight against it was something As if her secret inner self was trying to leak out.
On normal nights, Sara would engage in her usual nighttime activity that extends well past midnight and into 3 am. Curling up on the couch and reading a book. Or kicking her feet back on the porcelain table and throwing on a movie. On some nights, she would choose to go to bed early. Always choosing the most comfortable spot to position her head in order to act as an observer from her apartment window. She would gaze upon the night sky and it stars. It filled her with illustrious awe. Recalling the time class went on a field trip to the field museum use to take her to the field museum when she was twelve. Her being the type who aimlessly wanders through the museum looking at ancient relics of the past. Dwarfed by the gap of hundreds of years between the exhibit and herself. Her curiosity hanging on each word that emptied out of the exhibitionist's mouth.
It was on these nights that the longing for achieveing a sense of greater status. The feeling was vivid and powerful and filled her with a kind of unnatainable desire.
She knew that she had to change or else she would be encaged her whole life if she did not do something to save herself. Even if it was a temporary change.
THE NEXT DAY
Sara awakened to the smell of burning toast. Amy, who worked on the weekends was up at her usual time. 7:00 am. Always grabbing a quick bite to eat on her way out the door. Her love of burnt toast was one of the many differences between them.
"Sara, you want some toast."
"No. I'm fine." Sara answered assuredly.
"You still holding up?"
"Yeah. Everything's alright. Was just shaken."
"You ever need help just talk to me. I mean we're roomates."
"Well, there is one thing."
"I really wish I didn't go to that party. Dan is a complete asshole."
"Well why did you then?"
"I thought things would be different. I thought things would change. They never do. People. This I'm absolutely terrified of what the future holds for me, Amy. I dread it. Yet at the same time, "
"Sara, when you realize just how seldom people think of others, you're gonna stop worrying about what they think of you. It's not like Dan was there solely to hurt you. The guy is unaware where he is half of the time. He fucking lives off ignorance."
Amy checks her watch and realizes it's time for her to go to work. "We'll talk about this more tonight."
"I have plans." Sara stated with urgency. "So I might not be able to talk about it."
"Plans? You?" "Yep. Gonna go to see a movie."
Oh which one? I hear the Tyler Perry one is really good"
They both laughed.
"Well, I'm running late. Later. I'll clear up some space in my schedule so we can talk."
The luxury of loneliness gave time for Sara to dwell. As most people do in a room, alone. Around 7:45 she went forwards with her plans and decided to go the theater.
III. OTHER PLANS
(as the door slammed. Talking Heads 'Heaven' kicks in on the car radio. )
What she set out to next was almost choreographed with routine.
I will arrive at the theater roughly 15 minutes ahead of time. The ticket taker will tear my ticket. I will buy a small popcorn and fountain drink for a ridiculous price. (This urge being created by the near forgotten past time of what it's like to relish the habits of the average moviegoer.) The theater will be moderately crowded. Given that it's the weekend. I'll find a seat
The at the three way intersection, she noticed flashing lights and a sign marked "Use posted detour." It had took her no less than 2 seconds to realize that she had forgotten the sign she saw a few days ago. Only this time things were different. Her thoughts that were once run with fear were now relinquished and replaced by the urge to take chance. Knowing she had already missed the posted detour, she decided to take a right instead of a left.
The street, bathed in flourescent neon lights, gave off an illuminating aura. With each passing roadsign, she felt a sense of rebellious joy you get when you do something out of the norm. It wasn't so much the end point was important. It was the fact that she was actually making progress. Her own personal nirvana being temporarily interrupted by the angry driver next to her in an SUV that is speeding down the highway. Having made it 15 minutes down the road, she had arrived at a stoplight with an onramp in the distance. The green sign hung down cast a geometric shadow amidst the streetlights. Sara looked at it and smiled. Elated inside at what the sign read. She then chose to take the left hand turning lane, make a U-turn and start heading back.
The inevitable conversation about her conition that would take place between her and Amy in the morning seemed irrelevant to her.As was the embarassment at the party. Everything became secondary to that moment she had just been a part of. A confluence of exhilaration and freedom overwhelmed her. She slept in a resolute state. Hoping that one day her journey would extend past the sign "Next Stop- Arizona."