Haphephobia. A big word for something most people would consider a small issue. But to me, it is a lot more than that. According to a lot of people, I am faking it, it is not real, it does not make sense. But considering my past, this fear makes sense to me. Haphephobia is very real and can be debilitating, especially since the only successful cure is exposure therapy. It is the fear of physical touch. No matter how often I visit the therapist or attempt to get closer with people, I still cannot seem to overcome my natural instinct to pull away.
It was an average day, of an average week, of an average month, of yet another average year. I went to my job day in and day out, eyes forward, mouth set to a firm line. I had to be completely focused if I ever wanted to accomplish anything with my dreams. I could, after all, sleep when I died. So, on this average day, I continued to work hard, focused on my laptop in front of me. My fingers flew across the keyboard, filling in yet another financial report when one of my coworkers approached me. It was not often I talked back.
There was something to be said for Gus’s kindness. The hotel he took me to was just like the town it resided in, quaint and adorable. Now that I had a room for the next few nights, I turned to look at Gus, who followed me into the hotel. He mentioned previously that if I wanted to take pictures, he would show me a few local places that would look pretty in a photo. It was approaching sunset and I knew, from experience that some places looked extremely beautiful at that time of day. If I wanted to take some awesome pictures, now would be a good time to ask about it.
I had always hoped that life would be easy for me. In fact, most people think it is since my family is well off. But the truth is, even with access to all of their wealth, it does not make me happy. Being the heiress to a large conglomerate comes with its own sort of responsibilities which have left me feeling tired of the life I lead. More than anything, I want to experience what it is like to not have their wealth, their access to the world. And so, as a result of this desire, I set out on a journey on my own, with nothing but four thousand dollars and my car.
I was seventeen years old when my grandfather passed away. When I was little, he was my superhero, so I followed him around where ever he went, I was not too far behind. I did not much care for the rest of my family, however, and spent a majority of my childhood arguing with them. When he passed away, I lost the foundation for everything I had. But I was not the only one. My grandmother suffered as a result of this too, having spent almost fifty years of her life by his side. It was a very dark time for my family.
Today is the day! I thought with a bright smile as I looked at my parents’ house. I am finally going to be twenty years old! Feeling someone’s eyes on me, I turned to look around the neighborhood but did not see anything. The only thing in the neighborhood around my parents’ house was a van parked at the neighbor’s house, a couple walking their dog, and a woman jogging, no one paying any attention to me. Confused and sure of what I felt I shook my head before turning back to walk up the steps of the home I grew up in.