Five Minute Friday: Visit

We spent two summers in Bristol where the minister’s wife was born.

Each time, as the end of the school year approached, the minister would ask at dinner one night, “What will the kids do this summer?”

“Play, hang out around here,” the minister’s wife would respond.

The minister’s face would convulse, his voice become harsh, “This summer can’t be like last year. They did absolutely nothing. The boys wouldn’t mow the lawn unless I stood over them.”

bristol - scary bridge“We could visit my aunt in Bristol,” the minister’s wife would suggest. “She’d love to have us. You could join us for a week or two whenever you can get away.”

The minister would grumble about the cost of airfare, the ensuing weeks would be filled with his voice warning us to be on our best behaviour and not embarrass him, and a few weeks later, seven or eight sleepy kids would debark in England.

Though I’ve always loved England, I feared parts of Bristol. There was a huge, high bridge where we often picnicked that terrified me. I just knew it would fall on me. While the other children ran about and explored, I would sit with my back to the bridge, nervously looking over my shoulder to make certain it hadn’t begun to crumble.

9 West 57th StYears later when I went to live in New York, the dread fear that building would tumble on me kept me looking down so I wouldn’t the giants hulking over me. I detested 57th Street between 5th and 6th because I was certain the building at 9 West 57th Street would slide down and crush me as I walked past.

Finally, I learned I had a form of agoraphobia, I fear wide open spaces and things that tower above me. Knowing has helped a bit but given a choice, I avoid things that might come tumbling down and crush me even if everyone says they’re safe.


Every Friday,100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then publish the results. We don’t edit or engulf ourselves in concerns about whether our writing is worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers. Kate Motaung’s, at  Heading Home, provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We all link our posts there and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.


    1. You’re welcome. Until my therapist explained the range of agoraphobia, I thought it was limited to fear of crowds. Whereas I don’t like crowds, I’m not filled with terror when I find myself in one. But wide open spaces and tall structures over my head still frighten me. And I worked in the World Trade Center! Once inside, I was fine. But going into the building was always terrifying.

Tell me what you think. Thanks.

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