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Just a Typical Phobia
I’m a pretty fearless person. I’m not afraid to kill spiders, I’m not afraid to hold the snakes or cockroaches at the zoo, I’m not afraid to freefall from an airplane, and I’m not afraid to watch the scariest and goriest movies of all times. But there is only one thing I am truly afraid of, trees. Yes you heard me, trees. I am afraid of trees. Luckily, I live in L.A. where the tallest trees are practically the size of everyone’s self-esteem. And I haven’t really had to explain to anyone about my phobia except on our class field trip to the museum in 8th grade. We had to walk past this giant of a tree to get in and while everyone else walked past it in somewhat of a single filed line, I had to stop and pretend to tie my shoe before I even got within 20 feet of it. But the only problem was, I was wearing Vans slip-ons. Nobody noticed, not even the supervisors and teachers. They all fell for it and walked on by. My plan was working perfectly until my best friend Jay noticed my presence was missing and he ran back after me.
“Dude, what are you doing?” I tried to cover my shoes and quickly responded, “Just tying my shoes.” Apparently, my covering skills weren’t that great based on the next thing he said.
“But…you don’t have any laces.” I immediately felt awkward and uncomfortable.
“Yeah. I know. I was just practicing.” Then I laughed and looked at Jay like he was the crazy person here not me. Still, he was looking at me weird. He told me to come on and I declined. He asked what was wrong. So, I decided to tell him about my dilemma. He actually took it okay. Of course, after his ten-minute fit of laughter was over where I just stood there sort of humiliated. But after that, he became my best friend again and tried to solve the problem by looking for another way to get in. We found a way in on the other side of the museum and then everything was okay, other than the part where the teachers yelled at us in front of the whole 8th grade for not staying with the group and risking our lives. Being a Junior in high school now, I sometimes think Jay forgot about it. We’re still best buds but I don’t think I’ll mention it to him ever again.
Just getting up in the morning, my mom calls me down for breakfast. It’s summer and it’s a Saturday…I think. “Kenny! Breakfast!” Reluctantly and tired, I go downstairs to find both my parents sitting at the table motioning to a seat right in front of the plate with my breakfast. My dad says “Kenny, we’ve been thinking. We have all this money and we never do anything with it. I mean, I bet we already have enough saved to send 100 kids to college.” I proceeded to eat silently. Continuing, he said “So, we decided to go on a vacation!” They both immediately beamed at me. Living in L.A. for so long, I almost forgot about my phobia. But it instantly hit me.
“Wow. Where are we planning on going?” I tried to look as excited as I could.
“Oh no where special, Just Norway!” My mom seemed like she was about to jump out of her chair. But Norway? Norway had trees…and lots of them. There was no way I could go to Norway. But how could I tell my parents without letting them know?
“Well, Norway does sound fun. But we could go somewhere else, you know. Just to broaden our minds.” I tried to make myself look as honest as possible. “Well,” my mom looking just a little let down, “if that’s what you want. We could just go to Finland.” How could I turn them down a second time. Plus, my parents actually looked really happy about this. So, I decided to tell them. There was a short gap of silence. Perfect. “Mom, dad.” I started a little seriously.
“Yes Kenny?” My dad responded instantly putting on his this-must-be-a-serious-matter face.
“I…The reason I am having…issues on going to Norway and Finland is because they have trees.”
“Trees.” My mother responded using that statement more as a question.
“Yes,” I continued. “I’ve had a phobia of tress for a long time.” That sentence came out a lot choppier than I expected.
”…Is this a joke, Kenneth?”
“No dad. It’s absolutely not a joke.” I waited. There was this long and unpleasant pause. I honestly felt like I just told my parents I was gay.
“Wow. Well, I think we should get you to a specialist or something.”
“Why?” I don’t need a specialist.
“Because Kenny, you have a phobia of trees. And having a phobia of trees means we wont be able to go on vacation anywhere and that’s not happening.”
“Okay. Fine.” They were doing this because they loved me right? Of course. And I should be happy I told them. After all, honesty is the key to a good relationship. “But mom, where would we find a tree phobia specialist?”
“This is L.A., Kenny.”