The username was 'scar22' was somewhat ambiguous, much to Tina's frustration. She resorted to entitling her message 'To a person in need' and merely addressed the mystery person as 'friend'. She kept the message short and simple, not wanting to impose upon a delicate issue;
I noticed your profile and wondered if you fancied a chat?
Tina hit send and silently prayed for a reply. Of course, it would be nice to help in any way she could, but part of her now regretted getting herself involved. I'm in no way qualified! What if I just make things worse? Sighing, she checked her inbox for an early response, but finding it empty, she resigned herself to log off and power down the laptop. She got up to stretch her legs and rub her back; that was the downside to computers, the achiness from sitting in one place for so long. Technically, she should be used to being in the same place all of the time, but Tina liked to keep herself active and busy. Her parents had, quite sympathetically, installed a 'home gym' in the loft; there was a treadmill, crosstrainer and a couple of weight sets; all of which she used daily. I'm not using my fear as an excuse to become unfit. Her bedroom was filled with shelf after shelf of books and educational material- she had been home-schooled- and DVDs, which she watched on her laptop. Her film tastes were very particular; she would only watch those that involved little outdoor scenes or small casts. If she had to name her favourite it would have to be Panic Room, though she was partial to any Sci-Fi that was set on a spaceship. I would in my element on a spaceship. I wouldn't be 'weird' for staying indoors. . .because there's no outdoors. Though, I suppose I would be paranoid about getting sucked out into space in some freak accident.
"Tina! Lucy!" Her mum shouted up the stairs. "Your dinner's ready!"
Is it that time already?!
Tina slouched down the staircase and into the dining room, the aroma of slow-roasted beef and vegetables filled her nostrils and made her stomach growl in hunger. Her dad was already at the table, hidden behind todays newspaper; but she could tell it was him by the rolled up shirt sleeves and the knock-off watch. "Hi, Dad."
"Hmmm-hmm." Was his reply, lost in some article about another person's life. Nice to see you too, Dad, she thought at him. He seemed to her, as he shut the paper and looked straight at her, "Sorry, T. Hello. How was your day?"
"Same as. Yours?"
"Same as, T, same as. . ."
"Will you two cheer up! You both sound as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders!" Her mum scolded, as she carried the plates through from the kitchen. "Tina, help me with these, will you? Where's Lucy?"
Tina leapt forward and took the plates, setting them down on the table, one in front of each place, and set the cutlery accordingly around them. Lucy flounced into the room; casting Tina a wary look, and took a seat opposite her. Dinner was exactly how it smelt; a juicy roast beef joint with all the trimmings. As usual, Tina's mother had cooked enough to feed a small army, even after second helping from all four of them, so tomorrow's lunch was bound to be beef sandwiches. Again. What a surprise.
Feeling her mood darken, Tina excused herself, thanking her mum for the meal and leaving Lucy to help with the dishes- afterall, she had set the table. Reaching her bedroom, she opened the door and shut it behind her, the relief of privacy rushing over her. I must be getting worse if I'm getting this way with my family. This must of been how her agoraphobia had started; the desparate urge to be completely alone, then the fear of strangers- how they looked at her, how they towered over her- and then how small and vunerable the outdoors made her feel. The palms of her hands begun to feel clamy, so she turned her laptop back on to clear her head. Other people's problems are a welcome distraction.
Tina typed in the web address for 'CompromiseChat' and waited for the page to load. Logging in, she felt her heart leap to see she had a new inbox message and hurriedly clicked into it.
Thanks for your message. I don't know what to chat about.
Tina read the message a couple of times, trying to pick up on any underlying emotion. So his name is Zac. Hi Zac. . .I'm going to fix you. Or at least try.
She hit 'reply' and typed.
Messaging is too slow. I'm online everyday between 2pm and 5pm and then 6pm while 9pm. Catch me?
Pleased, Tina moved onto browse the forums, commenting on a few and reflecting on her own issues. I suppose I'm not as bad as some people are. She was just about to log out again and get ready for bed when the Instant Chat pinged and a window popped up:
scar22:- Hi Tina. What do you want?