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G is for Gephydrophobia, The Fear of Crossing Bridges


Melody stopped short when she saw it, skidding her cruising bicycle to a halt.  “No.  No, no, no.  There’s another way around, right?”

Susan laughed, twisting around without stopping her forest green mountain bike to call to her friend.  “Come on.  It’s just on the other side.  You have got to see this view.”

Melody didn’t budge.  She studied the quaint, old-timey, covered bridge the way a person would examine a half of a cockroach in their sandwich–with horror, revulsion, and a sinking feeling of dread.  It didn’t matter how pretty it looked, cradled amidst the purple wildflowers poking up through the vibrant emerald grass, spanned majestically over frothing rapids, and bathed in golden rays that sparked the swirling mist into a kaleidoscope of rainbows.  As far as she was concerned, it was a roach butt in her egg salad, and there was no way in hell she was going to take another bite.

Recognizing that her friend would need some coaxing, Susan swung her bike around and rejoined Melody at the top of the gentle slope.  “You really need to see the meadow on the other side.  It’s amazing.”  She nodded at the camera bag strapped securely to the back of Melody’s cruiser.  “You could get some award winning shots.  I’m serious.”

“Not if I have to go over that,” Melody scowled.  “Look at how rickety it is.  It’s probably condemned by the park service or something.  Or… Or–spiders!  No way that thing isn’t completely coated in giant spiders and their hairy little babies.”  Her shudder faded away when she saw Susan’s give-me-a-frikkin’-break expression.  “Trolls?” she asked sheepishly.

“Oh, come off it. It’s just a bridge.  What are you afraid of?”

Melody sighed.  “I’ve always been afraid of bridges.  I know it’s stupid, but I can’t help it.  I’m sorry I made you come all this way for nothing.”

“For nothing?” Susan asked.  “What kind of friend would I be if I let you miss out on this opportunity because of a silly, old, bridge?  Let’s walk our bikes and hold hands.  You can even close your eyes if you need to.  I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“You would do that for me?” Melody asked her doubtfully.  “But what if I can’t do it?”

Susan got off her bike and held out her hand.  “We’ll never know until we try, right?  Face your fear.  Trust me, the payoff is worth it.”

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