Belonephobia

Thoughts get overwhelming after they fill your mind and expand, latching onto your brain like they’re expecting to be shaken off and thrown away. They have a way of making you worry and panic, they have a way of making even the simplest things seem complex. Maybe it’s the way thoughts are supposed to be, maybe it isn’t. But that’s always how it had been for October. Thoughts fought for attention in her head as she crossed the street. She shoved her hands into the pockets on her black jeans as she considered each one carefully.

October turned them over again and again, treating them like a complicated math problem she had to finish before her next class. None of them had any significance to this moment in time, but they kept her brain busy. She didn’t want to think about what she was about to do, otherwise she might turn and run in the opposite direction.

But it didn’t matter how hard she tried, the closer she got to the hospital the harder it was to focus on anything else. It took a lot of self discipline to keep putting one foot in front of the other. She was shocked she had it in her. She could see the hospital getting closer, though she tried as hard as she could to look somewhere else.

October crossed the lawn and readjusted the hem of her shirt over her belt at the same time. She took slow, small steps trying to delay as much as possible. Suddenly her shoe was untied, she had found a penny on the ground, she wanted to read a nearby sign, anything to slow her down. Still, it seemed like only a few seconds later when she stepped through the gray automatic doors of the hospital. She waved to the secretary before sitting in the closest seat.

Her foot tapped against the floor as she waited, the sneaker making almost no sound against the soft, blue carpet. One by one the people got up around her. Each time the nurse came into the waiting room October’s heart started beating faster, adrenaline spreading through her veins. Every time she wondered if it was her turn, hoping it was and wasn‘t at the same time.

The outdated magazines on the table next to her held no interest. The news playing from the small T.V. on the opposite wall wasn’t interesting enough to hold her attention, and all thoughts but one had fled from her mind.

Eventually she was the only one left, and when the nurse came back in, October knew she was waiting for her. She stood slowly, taking a deep breath before following.

The hall was too bright, the white paint on the walls and ceiling reflecting the brightness until October was sure she was going blind. It was funny how hospitals thought that by painting everything white it made people relax, feel better about what might be happening to them or their family. The hall seemed longer than any hall she had walked before; and yet it only took a few seconds for her to reach the second door from the end. The door she had been dreading.

15 minutes later, a nurse clad in hot pink scrubs was giving October her flu shot.





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