The Other Side Of The Street


Wanda Hargrove


Johnny walked down the street heading for the big blue mailbox down on the other side of the street. He whistled as he walked. Getting to the corner, he looked and just his luck the street was clear. As he crossed the street he heard the squeal of tires and barely made it to the sidewalk without being hit. The blue Torino disappearing in the distance.

His hands shook as he dropped his mail into the box. Turning around, he was overcome by a sensation of the street becoming wider. He began to break out in a cold sweat, his breathing became shallow, and his heart began to pound faster. This is crazy! I can’t be afraid to cross the street!

Every time he went to put his foot out to take that first step he’d freeze. Finally he gave up and headed down to the payphone. Fishing out the coins from his blue jean pocket he dropped them into the slot. Dialing the number, he waited for someone to answer.

“Hello, Joanne. Is Roy home? He’s not. Uh… well… could you come down to seventh street and pick me up. Uh… Yeah… I’ve had a little trouble with the Rover and I need a ride to go pick it up at the mechanics. Great, I’ll be here!”

He felt a little better now that Joanne was coming to pick him up, but how could he tell her he was afraid to cross the street. Fifteen minutes later a two tone brown station wagon pulled up next to he, and he hopped in the car. “Thanks, for coming.”

Joanne glanced out her driver side window and noticed Johnny’s Rover sitting in the apartment building’s parking lot. She looked closer at him and noted that something was little off with the way he looked. “What’s wrong?”

“There’s nothing, wrong. Nothing wrong at all.”

Now she knew that something was up. Pulling into his parking lot she pulled up next to the Rover. “This means something’s wrong. You said it was in the shop.”

“Oh… uh… did I?”

She leaned back and took a good look at him. He reminded her of an aunt she had who was afraid of heights. “Do you have a phobia to crossing the street?”

“What ever gave you that idea?”

“I get a phone call from you that your car’s in the shop,” she began ticking off fingers. “The car in question is right here, and you look like a scared rabbit. Just like my aunt does when she gets two feet off the ground.”

He leaned back against her car. “Okay, it’s silly. But I was crossing the street to drop some mail in the mail box, when this blue Torino came barreling across the street and I was almost hit. Now I can’t cross the street without thinking I’m going to be hit by a car.”

“Now, I’m not a doctor but I did help my aunt with her fear of heights and now she can climb a ladder without being afraid. What you need to do is learn that yes you could be hit, but you still need to face this fear. As they say in the movies, take the bull by the horns,” she smiled at him.

“How do I do that?”

She smiled again, “By crossing the street, silly!” She teased him.

“I can’t do it!”

“Yes you can,” she told him as if she were speaking to one of her own children. Gently she took him by the hand and led back to the street. “You can do this. Remember you’re a firefighter and a paramedic. There’ll be many times when you need to cross a street, and you love your job. I don’t think you’d want to jeopardize your job over this.”

“Your right Joanne.” Slowly they crossed the street and this time nothing happened. “They continued to cross the street for a full half-an hour as Johnny gained his confidence.

He grinned at her, and released her arm. “I need to do this by myself.” He crossed the street to the other side and came back over to her side. “I’m cured! Thanks Joanne!” he leaned down and kissed her cheek.

“Well, I need you to keep an eye out for that husband of mine.” She smiled again as she climbed into her car and pulled out. Driving away she looked and saw that Johnny was still crossing the street. “My good deed for the day,” she smiled as she drove towards her house.

The End



Stories By Wanda Hargrove       Phobia Stories