“What’s wrong with you?!?” the man yells.
I can hardly think. My heart beats so hard against my ribs, like it’s trying to get out. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe.
Okay. Now I can think. What just happened? I’m on the road. Sitting, though. I’m panicking, just a bit. What’s the point? I’m panicking more than a bit. I think I was nearly hit by a car, for crying out loud!
I realise I haven’t answered the man yet.
“I’m sorry, I’m usually really careful. I don’t what happened…”
“Are you okay?” the man says, slightly calmer now.
I nod. “Yeah, I think so.”
I put my head between my knees as I’ve heard that’s what you’re meant to do when you feel sick. I feel a sick, anxious feeling at the bottom of my stomach. Butterflies.
“You need me to call someone?”
“No…no thanks. I’ll just…go to school.”
The man frowns. “Are you sure? I could call your parents.”
“No!” I practically shout. “Sorry. I just don’t want to scare them.”
Mum is so paranoid. You can’t do anything – I mean, anything – without her stressing for hours about it. And Dad doesn’t know how to calm her down.
“If you’re sure…” The man stares at me warily. Probably trying to suss out whether I’m going to faint or something. “You going to school?”
“Mmm. What school?”
“Sacred Heart…why?” I shouldn’t’ve told him. (You can see Mum’s paranoia rubbing off on me!)
“I’m going to call them later to check you get there all right.”
I smile. “Okay. But I’m off on a school trip to Chislehurst Caves.”
“So? They’ll still mark you in.”
“Take care crossing roads, kid.”