The Fear Inside

Crap. It had to be mathematics. She leaned over to Rosie and said “damnit, I can’t do this.”

Rosie reached over and patted her arm “you can do this, I mean you did fine on the Trig test.”

She looked around, she didn’t want the proctor to think they were cheating, it was one of a series of entrance tests for the Guild School. Guild was a special school for high potential students and she wanted in badly “That was different” she hissed between her teeth, “that involved symbols and words. This is just RAW numbers.”

“Do you want in the school or not? You’d better not fuck this up and make me go alone. Just grit your teeth and get through it.”

Easy for her to say she thought. But thank God for Rosie, no one else even tried to understand. Even she didn’t understand. Since she’d been in pre-school, seeing a list of numbers on a page terrified her. She had no idea why, she didn’t even know what she was scared of. The numbers just evoked this raw, visceral fear. The closest thing she could think of was of being trapped in a closet while a killer looked for her. Her body would get cold and clammy as she broke out into a sweat, and she had a hard time managing her breathing. It was not the ideal situation for a mild asthmatic.

Usually she could control it if there were no other stressors around, but taking tests, especially high stakes tests like this one were triggers. Her mom had taught her a trick that sometimes worked. Picture your Aunt Leonia bragging about her porcelain dog collection. It was a running family joke, they were cheap trinkets she picked up from 5&10 stores but she acted like they were the crown jewels. They loved Leonia though so they just all put up with it, teased her a little until she told them all to go to hell, and then got down to eating.

She looked down at the paper…almost on autopilot she had finished the first two questions. She got Rosie’s attention and gave her the thumbs up.

Rosie smiled and whispered “Love you like a rock girl.”

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

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