Part of my fanfic 100 challenge
A shrink had diagnosed him at the age of seven.
Ever since the accident that had caused him to lose his sight Matt's parents had been convinced that he was suffering from posttraumatic shock. And so every Saturday he sat through a two-hour session with a psychiatrist. It was boring.
Mostly she asked him questions. Sometimes she asked him to go and play with some toys. But he couldn't play on demand, especially when she watched him like a hawk.
She asked him to act normal.
He told her she watched him too much.
He wasn't sick, Matt told her and his parents over and over and over. Most weekends it was only Sandra who could drag him out of the house when it was time for his appointment. He hated it. He hated every second that he had to spend in the smelly hospital with the stupid old woman who didn't take her beady eyes off of him for a second.
"Do you see that," she said to his mother. "Do you see the way he moves ALL the toys before he starts playing. It means something."
Matt tired to ignore her by concentrating on the action figure in his hands.
"He does it every time, without fail. And if ever one toy gets misplaced or moved away from him, he moves it back. I'd be tempted to say he's a case of OCD."
Matt deliberately kicked a toy away from the pile, to the right, and left it lying their defiantly. The woman was wrong. He didn't have any obsessive urge to more it back. It could stay where it was. And was she really so stupid as to think that he wouldn't understand what she said if she spoke in code?
"I've never seen it present itself in this way before, but I'm pretty sure it's an accurate diagnosis. It won't cause your son any great harm, but it probably will help him if he's aware of it. You will explain it to him when he's older, won't you?"
"Of course, of course. Now, let me get your check."
Matt had still never come to terms with the fact that his mother had actually parted with money for such a diagnosis.
And did she diagnose him with stress? Trauma? Depression?
Oh no. It was much simpler than that.
Matt had a phobia.
An unusual phobia, but a phobia all the same. A stupid, idiotic fear that would plague him for the rest of his life.
Sinistrophobia was the name of the unusual mental disorder that haunted Matt. He was afraid, quite literally afraid, of any object on his left hand side.
It could be argued that Matt's fear was rational, but it was a fear that he would battle against for the rest of his life.
It was only as Matt got older that he began to recognize his precautionary actions as obsessive. He could still see the teacher if he sat on the right hand side of the classroom, but nevertheless he always chose a seat on the far left. That way he could see his classmates as well. And yes, that did make him more easily distracted. But he felt safer.
He always walked on the left hand side of the road. And yes, that was about safety, as it meant he could see any approaching vehicles. But he was obsessive about the safety. He refused to walk on the right regardless of the reason.
Whether he was studying or eating, everything must be on the right hand side of the table or desk. It didn't matter that he wasn't using the stapler, it had to be where he could see it.
It had to, just because it did.
And as a result Sandra loved to move all the objects in a room to the left hand side. It amused her to see him angrily rearranging the furniture.
No one ever understood him. The other children found it irritating or strange when his obsessive behaviour kicked in, and it wasn't going to help him find a job.
So Matt just learned to hide his fears.
"Christie, could you, erm, hold my other hand?"
She'd snuck up behind him and taken his left hand. He didn't like that.
"Sure," she said, sounding a little confused and taking his right hand instead. "Is that better?"
"It's much better. Thank you."
She looked baffled, but he didn't offer an explanation. "Why did you…?"
"No reason." His tone told Christie not to mention it again, so she didn't.
Christie had emailed Sandra about it. It had felt a little like defeat going to his sister to understand him.
She'd always been proud that she didn't have to resort to that, because Emily had, and she liked to think that she was better for Matt than Emily.
But she knew he didn't want to talk about it, so she swallowed her pride and asked.
"He has a form of OCD," Sandra had replied blatantly. "He has this stupid obsession that nothing can be on his left."
Briefly, Chriss panicked. "Will he be okay?" she demanded.
"Oh yes, he's fine," Sandra reassured. "He's lived with it all his life, and he's very good at hiding it. He had therapy. It's odd that you were able to notice it. He's not been so bad in years."
Late that night Christie lay awake pondering what had made her notice Matt's obsession with things being in sight.
But it wasn't things that bothered him. He never kicked up a fuss about this fear before.
It was only when Christie stood to his left that Matt was afraid.
Christie came at him from the right. She hugged him tightly, and he held her close.
"I talked to Sandra," she mentioned.
He shrugged. "You probably shouldn't do that. She'll be a bad influence."
"I asked her why you didn't like me holding your left hand."
Matt pushed her back a little and looked her in the eye. He didn't say anything, but she could see that he was angry.
She smiled sheepishly. "Don't be silly Matt. If I can love a man with one eye, I think I can love a man who doesn't want to let me out of his sight. I like that you want to look at me."
He sighed in relief and pulled her close again. "Thank you," he mumbled against her red hair.
"Your OCD is not a bad thing," she whispered to him. "I think it's cute."
Authors Note: Link Fangirl01 sent me some lovely reviews recently on my Dramacon fics. Her comments and many encouraging PMs meant I used an afternoon to dig this out of a dusty corner of my pendrive and finish it off.
I don't think I could have finished this when I started it. What gave me the inspiration was my own boyfriend. He used to struggle to make his eyes focus, and looked in two directions most of the time. Before he was miraculously healed he used to use one eye to look where he was going and one to follow me; he hated to let me out of his sight.
Hope you liked it!