A SAFE HAVEN

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


Maddi finds her soulmate on the internet... a perfect match with a difference!

Submitted: May 27, 2018

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Submitted: May 27, 2018

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Even as a child, Maddi had always felt different…painfully shy, anxious, socially awkward and lacking in confidence. Always a magnet for school bullies, who taunted her relentlessly.

What had made life worse for Maddi, was the fact that she was nothing like her two older sisters, who were both attractive, clever, outgoing girls… genes Maddi had sadly not inherited. Consequently, her parents had been at a loss to understand or empathise with their youngest daughter’s insecurities, and took a hard line with her.

“Look Maddi, you’re going to have to toughen up. Bullies are really cowards, and if you stand up to them they will leave you alone. And stop putting yourself down all the time, you are your own worst enemy.” her Father had lectured, which only served to make her feel even more vulnerable and alone. 

As the years passed, Maddi retreated further into herself, spending more and more time holed up in her bedroom on her Tablet. It didn’t take long for her to realise the benefit of the virtual world, a world in which she could assume a different identity, become a dynamic participant, particularly on social media and in chat rooms. She allowed her imagination to run riot and let her fingers turn her into a confident teenager who lived a full and exciting life. However, the more time she spent in her imaginary, isolated world, the harder it became to function and embrace real life.

Every time she forced herself to venture out, her panic attacks became ever more severe and debilitating, until one day she was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack… ultimately diagnosed as a severe panic attack brought on by the clinical condition, Agoraphobia… an abnormal fear of open and public spaces, for which she was referred to a psychologist for treatment.

*****************

Maddi put down her coffee cup, took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes. She went into the bathroom, stood in front of the mirror then reached for her make-up bag. She had a special date with her boyfriend, Mac, and wanted to look her best. She ran her fingers through her short, dark hair then teased it into place with gel before carefully applying her make-up. She then changed into a slinky, cream evening dress that flattered her ample curves. The sight of the striking young woman staring back at her filled her with confidence and excitement.

Life had changed for her since taking the initiative to set up The Agoraphobic Alliance… her own web-site, where she had originally met Mac. The image of his handsome features flashed before her… their shared values and struggles in life had brought them together, and they had fallen deeply in love.

As she worked from home, she quickly tidied up the pile of paperwork scattered across the table, turned off the television and plumped up the cushions on the sofa. She took out the bottle of champagne she had included in her weekly on-line food shop that was cooling in the fridge.

After consulting her watch, she opened her lap-top and waited with mounting excitement for the Skype call.

“You look amazing,” Mac said, his blue eyes shining with admiration and love.

Maddi smiled, twirling in front of the screen, so he could appreciate the detail and fit of her dress.

“I’m a lucky man. Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“Absolutely.”

After exchanging their wedding vows, they threw kisses across cyber-space then toasted one another with a glass of champagne.

“I love you Mac, my dear, dear husband.”

“And I love you, my amazing wife.”

At midnight Maddi reluctantly turned off her laptop… that virtual connection with her husband, and curled up in bed with her iPhone. ‘Sleep tight, Mac,” she texted.

“You too, honey,” came the reply.




© Copyright 2018 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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