Fear Of Phobias This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I was a very confused child. There were so many things that just didn't make sense to me. Grown-ups told me all sorts of things I didn't understand: Like my uncle, he drove on the parkway and parked on the driveway. Why? That didn't seem normal. One day I went food shopping with my mom and there was a sign that said: SALE: JUMBO SHRIMP - $7.99 lb. How can shrimp be jumbo? I guess everything is relative though. Speaking of relatives, my crazy Aunt Charlotte thought euthanasia was about teaching children in the Orient. Teachers can be strange too, however. My first grade teacher asked me what year my birthday was and when I replied "Every year," she just laughed. That certainly wasn't meant to be funny. My big sister was always complaining about her morning sickness, yet, she never got up until noon. My brother-in-law on the other hand, always complained that he had insomnia ... but only during the day. With a family like this, is it any surprise I had trouble grasping certain concepts?

Many problems plagued my mind throughout childhood and my teen years. One problem, however, has bothered me ever since I got my first bed. There was a label on the mattress that read: "WARNING: Under penalty of the law, this tag is not to be removed!" That confused me. What harm could it do to remove a simple little tag from a mattress? Was there a Mattress Label Police? Did a guy in uniform come to our door like the electric guy to check out our beds? Each night it took me hours to fall asleep because I feared that I'd accidentally pull up my sheets and rip off the tag with my toes. I had nightmares about a monster in my mattress who was waiting for the right time to tear off the label just because he hated good little girls.

The years went on and I outgrew my first small bed. I asked my parents for a hammock with a pillow instead of a larger bed with a mattress (which would surely include a label), but they refused. I dealt with my fears by covering the label with masking tape but it became too itchy to sleep on.

As life went on, I learned to accept my fear of mattress labels. I didn't overcome it, but until bedtime, I felt and acted normal. When I went away to college, my parents decided to sell my furniture. Unfortunately they planned to sell it to Sheila, the girl I despised most in high school, the girl who stole my Senior Prom date and beat me by nine-tenths of a point for valedictorian. This repulsed me unbelievably, but what could I do? My father needed the money to take a decision-making class, which he never ended up taking because he couldn't decide which day to take it.

A few minutes before the moving van arrived, I looked at my childhood furniture for the last time. The drawers were cleaned out, the shelves emptied and my bed stripped. The mattress label shone in the early morning sun from my window. Suddenly I had an idea, a revenge for Miss Valedictorian/ Prom Date Thief. I took my handy nail scissors, snipped off the mattress label, and threw it in the closet without a look back.

I've gone on with my life now. The mattress label on my bed still haunts me, but it's on my husband's side, so I can deal with it. I never heard from Sheila again. I wonder if there really is a Mattress Label Police. What would be the sentence for removing a mattress label. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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blueandorange This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm
I like it!
 
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