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Quarter For a Hug: Anxiety

Excerpt from "The Transition"

By Brandi Ashley Published 3 years ago 3 min read

As much as I enjoyed spending the day with my grandmother, there were occasionally parts that I didn’t like so much. I felt that I was close to my granny, but so were many other people. Although my grandmother had several kids and was a grandmother and great grandmother, she had just as many people that loved and visited her who was not blood related. She often had unannounced visitors stop by while my brother and I were there. When a vehicle pulled into my grandmother’s driveway, the fear and anxiety that I once felt during lunchtime in school would settle over me sending me into a panic. The last thing I wanted to do was have someone talk to me forcing me to talk back. Once when my Uncle Lee stopped by, I ran to my grandmother’s kitchen and quickly crawled beneath the table. I drew my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around my legs. Hiding my face, I lowered my head allowing it to rest on my knees and closed my eyes. Soon, my Uncle Lee was in my grandmother’s kitchen. He squatted next to the table and peered at the tiny, frightened child that hid beneath.

“Hey! Why don’t you come out and see your Uncle Lee? I haven’t seen you in a while.”

I stole a peak at my uncle who I did not know very well but still felt afraid of for reasons I did not understand. I laid my head back down as I was content to stay beneath the table not talking, but my uncle wasn’t giving up.

“Hey, Brandi, I’ll tell you what. You come out from under there and give your Uncle Lee a hug and I’ll give you a quarter!”

A quarter sounded like a bunch of money to a small child in the early nineties, especially a child that was used to having zero money. I took another peak at my uncle. Maybe he wasn’t so bad… And my granny was in the next room… I imagined it sure would be nice to have a whole quarter of my very own. I took a deep breath and spoke barely above a whisper.


I eased to my hands and knees and slowly crawled from under the kitchen table until I was looking at my uncle’s shoes. I made my way to my feet and focused in the direction of my uncle’s face. Although my uncle tried, I avoided making eye contact. His voice lowered a notch and became gentler when he spoke to me again.

“I’m not gonna bite, Brandi. I just want a hug.”

He reached into the front pocket of his jeans and retrieved a shiny, silver coin that I assumed was a quarter. I really want that quarter! I silently closed the distance between my uncle and I as he wrapped his firm arms around my slender shoulders. I allowed him to hold me to him for a brief moment before I pulled away putting distance between us once again.

“See, that wasn’t so bad was it?” he asked as he extended his hand that held the quarter.

“Go ahead. Take it. It’s all yours now,” he said nodding his head towards me.

I carefully plucked the coin from the palm of my uncle’s hand and studied it for a moment before placing it in my pants pocket. Wow! A quarter of my own! Of course, when my mother came to pick me up later that day, my grandmother told her about me hiding while my uncle informed her of the hug-quarter trade.

extended family

About the Creator

Brandi Ashley

I am a Creative Writing major at Belhaven University in Mississippi. I was focused on writing fiction, but within the last year I have developed a relationship with God. Now, I am here to tell my story of survival as a testimony to God.

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