A battle with anxiety (a narrative piece)

This is a narrative piece I wrote whilst waiting for some mates at a movie theatre.

“They won’t come.

“That’s nonsense. They’re the ones that organized it.

“Yes, but you upset one of them on New Years. You wouldn’t go into town with him. You’re not a good friend, and he’s forgetful. You didn’t remind him that the movie is today. That he’s not here is your fault.

“Even if he doesn’t come, the other will. I confirmed with him yesterday–he’s just a bit late, is all.

“The movie starts in ten minutes.

“He’s. Just. Late.

“How can you be sure? He hasn’t texted you. He is having a rough patch. He doesn’t want to see you.”

The thoughts were rudely interrupted by a young man in an orange t-shirt and a backpack. “Harrow!” he slurred with a speech impediment, holding it his hand as if asking the girl to shake it.

Surprised, and flustered that she may have been recognized by the man but failing to recall his face, she grasped that hand in what she thought was a greeting.

But his carer stood along side him. “He just wants to tickle your hand, if that’s okay?”

And indeed, the man was making a strange motion with all five of his digits, attempting to tickle the palm of her hand. Her palm, however, was not ticklish.

She laughed anyway. A smile, as bright as it was beautiful adorned a face that has previously been wrought with a self-inflicted feeling of despair, thoughts that we once her own now replaced with the illumination of the room, the sun streaming through in a way that it hadn’t before.

When the man was satisfied with her reaction, he wandered off to the nest person. One of her thoughts told her to retreat to the bathroom–wash her hand lest she become ill–but her heart ignored her. She remained seated with the sunlight streaming across her face until her phone rang.

One of her friends, the one who was probably late as she’d suspected, was lighting up her screen. She dashed out of the loud cinema, feigning a calm when a familiar anxiety creep up again.

“I’m really sorry! I’m, uh, gonna be late! Did you want to grab lunch and catch the next one?” The friend asked, panting on the other end of the line as if he’d been running, probably to catch the bus.

She gave a sigh of relief. “Sure. I’ll meet up with you soon. The other’s forgotten, I think.”

When the phone call ended, she sent a message to the other friend. “Where you at?”

The reply was near instantaneous. “Fuck,” The responding text read. “I’m on my way!”

She glanced at the time. It was far too late for the first viewing. She gave a small huff of amusement. “Next film in a few hours. Will see you then.” She wrote, wearing a smile made up of the irony that she was indeed correct, but cared little about that point in particular.

She knew that ordinarily, she’d have been furious–a side effect of pent up anxiety to lash out at friends who her thoughts claimed to harbor ill will . But her heart, with the help of the sunshine and the strange man in the orange shirt and grey backpack, over powered the demon, and shut it in a cage, using but a weak lock to hold it in for the day.

For the next battle would be soon, but for now, the girl sat in a relative peace and sunshine.

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