Monophobia: Fear of being alone.
Rewind. Stop. 27 years ago.
A young, dark-haired girl wearing a yellow jumper with pink flowers is riding her bike in the central area of the apartment complex. She is riding away from the other children because she has the flag. She will hide it and the others will try to find it. There are no parents outside. They are making dinner, paying bills, tending to younger siblings, cleaning house, or busy with other parent-kinds of things. The children play outside almost daily. There has never been a concern with safety. They all peer out the windows occasionally, keeping an eye on the children.
Nobody realizes today will be different. The dark-haired girl sees a car she recognizes pulling into the parking lot. Fear engulfs her. That car shouldn’t be here. She begins pedaling as fast as she can, but when the man gets out of the car she realizes she isn’t fast enough. She drops the flag and the bike and begins running toward her home. The man grabs her from behind and lifts her into the air. The girl lets out a horrific scream of fear. He’s walking away with her. She screams again.
Adults – parents and those without children – are exiting their apartments in search of the screaming child. The mother is yelling at the man, “Give her to me! She is terrified! Look at her!” But the man ignores her. He is walking away.
Men. Fathers confront the man carrying the child. “My wife is on the phone with 9-1-1. The police will be here any minute. Give the girl to her mom.”
“She’s my daughter. I am allowed to spend time with her.”
Monophobia – the fear of being alone – began when I was a child. There were apparently other, similar situations. I don’t really remember those. My mom says he would hide in the bushes. Those events happened before that last one. This particular event was the one that finally persuaded the judge I needed some time away from my biological father. It was too late. The damage was already done.