The Girl Who Was Afraid

“Amanda, this is Jake,” that’s how I introduced them. Now we were sitting in my apartment, listening to music and going through some materials for our project. The apartment was lit a really large number of lamps which made it feel warm and cozy. I was a student at the University of I___.

There was a thunderstorm outside and Amanda jumped up on her chair each time lightning struck. “Sorry,” she would say each time, and then finally she said, “Sorry, I’m scared of storms.”

For some reason, this annoyed Jake. “Scared of storms, huh? That’s so cute. What else are you afraid of? Fire? Stairs? Windows? Huh? What else are you scared of, Amanda?” He said her name with particularly strong stress, like he was trying to grind her down with it.

She looked really embarrassed, she was staring at her laptop and she fixed her hair nervously. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly.

I looked Jake in the eye, trying to convey one thought: “Why do you have to be such a jerk all the time?” I don’t know if he got my message, but I like to think he did and he was trying to communicate an answer back. The answer was: “I don’t even know why.”

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