Agora the explorer

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"Make a friend. I think you've made progress so you can now move onto human interactions."

My therapist peered through her oversized glasses, magnified further by my laptop screen.

I let a breath, then another one, then started panting and covered the laptop screen with my warm breath.

"N-no."

"Look you can’t go through life alone; you need some human interaction. What if you don't have to leave your house? What if the friend comes to you? Will that work for you?"

"What's the deal with friends? why can’t we go through life alone. I'm okay. I'm o-okay. I accepted long time back that I can't be normal. I've built a busy life with work, lots of TV and reading books."

The therapist gave a slight smile "I won't push you but maybe start seeing out your window, remove the curtains, it's like watching TV. Maybe you'll find someone interesting that sparks your notice."

I looked at the layers of heavy curtains protecting my worldview and shook my head. I did my usual rituals of watching some episodes of my favorite shows, reading a chapter of a book and went to sleep.

I was woken by my slumber by raucous laughter. My house is situated in a dead-end street and tucked away from sight. It was strange that the voice was coming from a proximity.

Without thinking I put the curtain aside a little. A man had a little girl on his shoulder, and they were trying to get something from the dense tree that shielded my driveway.

It was such a simple thing but the joy on their phases as they failed to retrieve whatever was stuck but continued trying with whoops of laughter, it tugged at my heart.

"Let's come back when it is light outside." The man said to the child.

The next morning, I peered at my window again, but nobody showed up the entire day.

Every day, I would peak to see if the duo were back, but they never did come back until later in the month.

I heard the same unfettered laughter again.

"Daddy there's a woman looking at us." The girl waved to me.

I immediately pulled back the curtains.

"Are you okay? I'm sorry if we are intruding." The father called out.

"It's okay." came out the hoarse whisper.

"I love this tree, it looks magical."

I stared at my heavy oak tree with its gnarly branches and furrowed my brows. Children were a mystery beyond adults.

"Ma'am, can I come here and play sometimes?" She smiled at me.

I pulled back the curtain the furthest it could go and managed to nod.



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18 comments
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This is beautiful. It seems to be perfect. The language is spare, and powerful. We know immediately the challenge this character faces. That is a great title, though we would understand her predicament without the clue. She is ready, maybe. The first baby step will be engaging (indirectly) with the child who will play beneath her window. As we finish the story we all wish for your character the joy of human company.

Thank you for sharing this story with us. It is a great read,and you support others by reading their stories. We appreciate that.

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Thank you for your kind comments. I wrote this while I was sick because I did not want to miss writing for this prompt.

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!PGM

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Engaging sometimes isn't easy but I think they is always a key to every lock, there is always that one thing and person that can ignite that part of us. Thanks for sharing

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I think this is so sensitive and insightful. What is it like in the mind of an agoraphobic? Such a familiar term. A label. But there is person imprisoned inside that label. Thank you for letting us see, and understand.

"I love this tree, it looks magical."

Maybe it is magical, in an ordinary way. Maybe the child's innocence will be the magic that helps our character to be free. Your treatment of the challenge, avoid author intrusion: right on target.

Great job.

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It was the hardest thing to write without intrusion. I did not even know about this technique and I think I've guilty of it but I enjoyed the challenge.

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The way you’ve written this is as if the words themselves are held back by fear; fear radiates and pulls at our heartstrings. We’re quite desperately invested in the protagonist’s world, we want a resolution and the hope that you provide is simply joyous. Fabulous as usual ❤️💕🤗

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Beautiful story, @diebitch! I love the sweet resolution. It's just a baby step for the narrator, but we know that she now has the potential to be free! I also love the pun in your title — Agora — named for a Greek market, and the term agoraphobia, which is of course a fear of leaving one's domain. Not to mention the reference to Dora the Explorer who is a fearless, go-anywhere young lady with a backpack. So clever!

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hehe thanks for always getting my mom puns @jayna. Pretty sure my kid will groan when he grows up listening to his mom's weird puns.

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Oh he will find them hilarious, I’m sure! Until he’s 16, then everything changes. 😂

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It is beautiful and hopeful, greetings.

Está hermoso y esperanzador, saludos.

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