Excerpt for Autophobia by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Autophobia: The Fear of Being Alone


By Hayden Pearton

Published by Hayden Pearton at Smashwords

Cover designed by Lisa Redman

Author photography by Kathleen Marais

Copyright 2018 Hayden Pearton

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

For Chanelle, my Muse.

For my Family, my Inspiration.

For Michael, my Anchor.

For Lisa, my Miracle.

And for all those who are alone, who feel alone, and who fear being alone… you are not alone.


The Age of Innocence

The Joy of Life

Paint by Numbers




Lose Yourself



Ring Finger

Like Father, Like Daughter

The Age of Regret



The Big Apple

Dead End

The Sound of Music

Old Grooves

Dark Days

Ain’t No Sunshine


End and Beginning

The Age of Acceptance

By the Bay


A Soul on Fire

A Simple Life


A Remnant of Love


The Shakes

Lost and Found


About the Author

The Age of Innocence

The Joy of Life


Listen to my story, listen to my rhyme

For once upon a simple time

There lived a boy who loved to play

And laughter and cheer was all he’d say

For that boy is me and I was him

Back before the world got grim

But that is not now nor is it then

When I had a mother called Rose and a father called Ben

For now let me enjoy the life of a child

In Ohio where winters are strong and summers are mild

There is joy to be found in the simplest of things

Not in fancy cars or gaudy rings

So remember your inner child so lost

And remember that adulthood has a steep cost

So from all worries and fears be freed

As you listen to the tale of Arthur Reed!


Paint by Numbers


Do you have a talent or two?

Something that only you can do?

Are you able to sing with perfect pitch?

Or ride your bike over a great big ditch?

Can you memorize every word of a play?

Or surf a big wave on a sunny day?

Well I have something at which I excel

Although dad says it would never sell

To paint a picture from the mind

That is the talent that I did find

For I could stand before a canvas all day long

While others go hiking or sing a song

I draw and sketch all that I see

A painter of life in the future I’ll be

The world around is full of great wonder

Which upon the page I will strike thunder

To create and inspire is my true calling

So onward I go, no more stalling!




One year since my mother relented

When an easel and paint box she rented

I have made something I think is grand

Something that will spread my name across the land

How perfect that a contest nears

One that will finally quell my father’s fears

He tells me to study and sprint

So that I might someday make a mint

But there is no beauty in money so hollow

And in my life I will not blindly money follow

Instead I shall seek out life’s beauty

Even if it’s sometimes a little sooty

So wish me luck and good favour

So that something might become of my artistic labour

I now submit and hope to win the prize

And I pray that the judges use their eyes!




On this morn a dark cloud hangs

For last night the reaper bared his fangs

From a son he took a father

Why could he have not taken me rather?

From a boy he took a mother

Could he not have taken another?

And now as my uncle loads up my things

I wonder if my parents have received their wings

For from that road last night they flew

Skidding wildly on the evening dew

While I at home awaited their coming

Listening to the beat of the rain’s dark drumming

Never knowing that I had already goodbye said

And that no one would be by to tuck me to bed




It has been long enough now for the pain to fade

But there is something else that has stayed

For in the place of pain and loss

My heart decided a fear to toss

I am now afraid to be alone

I cannot stand to be on my own

For in that moment of loneliness be

I am trapped with the scariest thing: me

My thoughts soon grow twisted and dark

And I wonder if the devil has given me mark

Whether by school or by home I be single

I immediately seek out those with which to mingle

I know that this is not who I am

And yet I feel as helpless as a newborn lamb

I’ve spoken to doctors, quacks and shrinks

I’ve thrown out everything, including a few sinks

But this fear is mine and it’s here to stay

And I fear it’ll last until my very last day


Lose Yourself


I have a new nickname

It is my eternal shame

They call me scaredy-cat

Like I’m some kind of fearful rat

Gone are the looks of pity they gave

They no longer see my parents’ grave

All they see is a scared little boy

Laughing like I’m a broken toy

“He can’t go to the toilet alone”

I hear them whisper while on the phone

“He cries when he’s the last to leave”

I hear all the tales they weave

But I have no recourse

Only the tiniest remorse

For this fear of mine is stubbornly tight

It will not go gently into the night

So until that day when my fear is shorn

I will fear each and every lonely morn




Praise to the Lord on high

For he has sent down an angel, no lie

Her name is Mary-May

And I plan to marry her one day

She sits beside me in English and Math

And for her I’d endure Satan’s wrath

Her golden hair shimmers in the morning sun

Her skin glistens after her evening run

Eyes filled with emerald mirth

I am so glad for her worldly birth

For now all I can do is stutter and yelp

She must think I need psychological help

But I have come up with a plan most clever

For it will flick her heart’s stubborn lever

I shall paint a portrait of my beloved girl

Something for on her birthday to unfurl

It shall show her beauty true

How through my eyes her radiance I view

So wish me luck and say a prayer

And hope that I win the heart of my darling fair!




What does it mean to love?

Is it to be as free as a dove?

When I am with her, I feel no fear

And our love has grown year after year

Mary-May has taken my heart

She is my greatest work of art

The time we have spent together

I know that we are two birds of a feather

She is my muse and my treasure

And I would happily live my life for her pleasure

She wants to study law I believe

Otherwise her father would surely grieve

I am destined for a life of paint

Just me and her, my darling saint

I know that her father loves me not

But for all I care he can go rot

For our love is something that cannot be broke

We are as close together as egg and yoke

So bring on your troubles and strife

I will stick by the love of my life!


Ring Finger


This is it, today’s the day

Boy I sure do hope everything goes my way

Today I place my knee on stone

And ask my beloved to be mine own

To have and to hold

Till we both grow old

In sickness and in health

Sharing poverty and wealth

Forever and after

We’ll share tears and laughter

So today at sunset I’ll spring my love trap

I’ve drawn her a most intricate map

That’ll take her to the place it began

And then she’ll listen to the song we sang

As I appear on a steed of white

She’ll think that I’m quite the sight

And as I hop down and bend the knee

The ring I’ve crafted she’ll finally see

As I whisper the words I’ve held true

This one of me will finally become two!


Like Father, Like Daughter


How many years has it now been

Since that day I lost my queen?

I stood and waited for hours that day

On that horse which only wanted hay

But my lover true did not arrive

Away from my side her father did drive

He shouted and bickered and moaned for good measure

No way was he giving up his daughterly treasure

No angel of his would marry a demon like me

For no future in painting could he see

So the girl who loved her father heeded his word

And sought to break the heart of this poor lovebird

But make no mistake I went down swinging

Hurling abuse and slander I surely was slinging

And now I am truly alone once more

And I have barely begun to heal from this heart-sore

I must leave this place, this town, this life

And head to a place where none know of my strife

So no more shall I dally and moan

Instead, I will go somewhere where I’m no longer alone!


The Age of Regret



When was the last time I picked up a brush?

When did life start to move in a rush?

College came and college went

I can’t even remember all the time I spent

Fifteen years since Mary-May broke my heart

And with her went my passion for art

Now my heart belongs to Christie Reed

Although I wonder if I’ve truly been freed

She does not shine like Mary-May did

We stay together, I think, for the kid

She does not approve of the arts I know

She would rather sit and watch a dry news show

Her father the banker got me my job

And now day after day the people I rob

But this is life and that’s ok

I guess I’ll go this way until I’m grey

No one ever said you need happiness too

And the days I’ve spent smiling are far too few

But I am a man and I’ll keep my word

I’ll remain as I am, a trapped little bird

So please don’t think that I’m really all that

Since I let my dreams tumble and fall flat

And now as my better half calls

I can but wonder where she’s put my balls




My boy, my son, my tiny man

Today is the day where I’m your biggest fan

A day of birth and celebration

All should sing for you across our nation

Why it’s not every day that someone turns eight

And I promise today I won’t come home late

A party and presents your parents obtained

Even though we’re always so tired and drained

To see that simple smile on your face

I would climb mountains and swim seas at a nonstop pace

For you are my son and I love you

From the day you were born at three fifty-two

I know that we don’t always get along

And I know that sometimes I’m wrong

But I promise to strive to be a better dad

Anything less will leave me alone and sad!


The Big Apple


New York, New York

You can go swallow a fork

This city is a maze of concrete and steel

And I feel like a mouse looking for a cheesy meal

There is no art here

The people are only ruled by fear

Fear of having nothing left to earn

For it is money alone they truly yearn

Day in and day out

I feel this growing clout

Behind a window of bulletproof glass

I feel like the world’s biggest ass

Taking money from those who have none

All so the boss can buy a house, boat and gun

Where is the poetry: the rhythms of life?

Is this all so that I can keep hold of my wife?

Painting is no right job for a man

That was the decree, that was the ban

So I will work and slave and do my part

And I will never again think to ply my art


Dead End


I remember the day my parents died

I remember the way I cried and cried

But the death today warrants no tears

For the death today has been due for years

My marriage, yes, is deader than dead

It is high time we put it to bed

We tried all the counselling and books we could find

But we could not salvage this matrimonial grind

I hate her and she hates me

Oh how I do so long to be free

But for now we shall play husband and wife

Bearing through this marital strife

For our child so small and needy

We cannot allow ourselves to be greedy

So for now a couple of zombies we are

Though I do not expect this to go very far

Until the day we can finally let go

This will be our death, so very, very slow


The Sound Of Music


Today I heard a sound of joy

And, to my surprise, it came from my boy

As I was cleaning the gutters out clean

Near Jon’s room I happened to lean

And from his window open wide

I heard something from which I nearly cried

A melody both beautiful and sweet

It carried me forward, bewitching my feet

My son, a musician, with talent to spare

A voice such as his is certainly rare

But this is a hobby that cannot grow

The word he needs to hear now most is “No”

For to dream and to work are two separate things

I must let him know what’ll happen if he sings

He will lose his lover and his future too

This chain of events is nothing new

Rather forget his dream and give up now

Than have his heart crushed by some awful cow

It pains me this dream to break

But one day he’ll know, it’s all for his sake


Old Grooves


I wonder where my son is now?

After he ran from home and broke his vow

For years we’d argued and battled and spat

I told him this and told him that

But his music and folly he refused to lose

So came the time when he could finally choose

On the day of his eighteenth he left us quick

Only stopping by to grab his guitar pick

And now he travels with his damn band

I think they call themselves ‘No Man’s Land’?

Christie and I have hardly spoken

Since that day when only two were woken

I can feel that old fear creeping in

Like a shark in the water showing its fin

A part of me is afraid to see

What loneliness awaits for who I’ll be

If my wife and son were both to part

Perhaps then I’d have time for some art?

But for now I will continue to toil away

Hoping, waiting, dreading, that fateful day


Dark Days


I think I saw my son today

I’m not sure, it was rather far away

He stood on a stage covered in lights

Seeing him singing and dancing, what sights!

After the show I tried to draw near

But I was kept away by my old fear

Would he still hate his dear old dad?

After four whole years could he still be mad?

I know that to him I am the devil himself

Who told him to put his dreams high up on the shelf

But can’t he see that I was only trying to warn

That the road he was travelling was rather forlorn

Look at him now, all covered in silk

So different from when he craved his mother’s milk

A rock star and legend is all they say

But I don’t see it on this dark day

All I can see is a son in great pain

Orphaned and singing in the cold rain

Someday I hope he’ll finally come back

So that he can laugh in the face of this sad sack

His mother refuses to even attend

And not even a kiss did she deign to send

But I will come to every show and gig

In the hope that my son will see this old pig

I hope he knows how sorry I am

Unlike his dear mother, who doesn’t give a damn!


Ain’t No Sunshine


I watched the car drive over the hill

From my perch beside the windowsill

My wife is gone, back to her mother

I wonder if she already has a new lover?

This empty house calls my name

It echoes and whispers and tells of my shame

How long now since I was last alone?

The nearest person at the other end of the phone

I can already feel my legs start to shake

Was I really staying with her for my own sake?

I spoke of delaying this for Jonathan, sure

But was I instead using her as my own personal cure?

And now the darkness gathers in my mind

And I know that here is where I’ll find

That frightened boy who never grew up

Like a tiny, mewling, scared little pup

I cling to those who would keep me sane

Hoping that from me they would not wane

That my happiness would not be their theft

But now I alone am all that’s left




Amazing how so small a space can be

And yet there is a distance between you and me

Christie sits on the other side of the bench

As the lawyer questions that heartless wench

She wants it all, wouldn’t you know

Every penny I’ve earned, to my darling foe

Not just the money but also my home

Does she expect me to live with cardboard and foam?

But If I must be perfectly true

I don’t care about any of that, neither one nor a few

All I want is someone to hold

Not someone who sees everything as bought or sold

Someone who will keep the darkness at bay

Someone who will let me do things my own way

But someone like that is a fantasy, see

At the end of the day there is only me

So what I need now is to finally become

Someone who isn’t so needlessly dumb

Yes I want to get rid of this fear

The same one that’s plagued me year after year

Only then shall I finally know peace

And this nightmare called life will finally cease


End and Beginning


Who would ever have thought

That Arthur Reed would have bought

A tiny studio in downtown San Fran

One that took every penny out of my retirement can

So I’ve packed my bags and sold my things

This isn’t one of those summer flings

No wife, no son, not even a job

There is nothing left for this city to rob

I’m on my way to something better

Look at me, the grand jet-setter!

Very soon I’ll leave my old life behind

And I’ll finally cease this daily grind

I don’t think I’ll miss the city rush

And I hope I’ll have time to pick up a brush

For my art has much too long languished

From the depths of mind my art be fished

I will live for me and no one more

I will not allow my heart to grow sore

Aspirations yes, I’ve got a few

So look out world, I’m coming for you!


The Age of Acceptance

By the Bay


I breathe in the air and breathe out joy

Finally again I feel like a boy

My tiny home atop the street

The people smiling I one by one greet

My neighbours are people good and true

Of them this world has far too few

I spend my days beside the bay

Gazing at its beauty every single day

And in my mind the pictures freely flow

Not once yet did my hand slow

I paint what I see and what I don’t

There isn’t anything that I won’t

For this world has beauty even in the dark

And upon this canvas I shall make my mark

Although my age is not slowing

I will not keep these pictures from flowing!




Seventy years I’ve spent on this Earth

Seventy years now since my ancient birth

And now as my joints ache and twinge

I find more time for naps to binge

I can no longer walk the bay as I once did

Now I see I’m not just a grown up kid

So I have reached out for aid

And found someone better than a maid

Deborah is a woman of grace and charm

She is here to keep me from harm

Together we go for strolls in the park

My carer and I listen as the dogs play and bark

She watches me paint and helps me clean

She keeps me fit and keeps me lean

A partner not of blood or bond

And yet of her I’ve grown rather fond

With her I no longer fear the quietest times

And I can peacefully listen to life’s simple rhymes


A Soul on Fire


Today I met a man named Geoffrey Rush

A master of art and handy with a brush

He happened across my humble collection

And wants it for a grand display section

Inside his gallery large and tall

He told me he wants it all

And that the money mattered not one bit

So long as the art was a perfect fit

Though I paint not for profit or fame

And I don’t care if no one knows my name

I paint for me and that’s all right

But Geoffrey has me in his sight

I think I will call him back

After all, a show is all I lack

So very soon I’ll be a star

Just like my darling son so far

A ticket to the opening I think I’ll send

To each family member and every friend

So that all might know I’m doing fine

As we eat some cheese and drink some wine!


A Simple Life


If one were to ask what life is for

I would invite them to lie on the floor

Gaze up at the ceiling tall

And try to feel very small

For life is not for you and me

We are not the ones who truly see

All that life has to offer

And yet we waste it to fill some coffer

Or pursue a love absurd

We might as well try to fly like a bird

For true happiness comes from within

It is not found searching for one’s kin

Look at me and you’ll see a happy old man

Surrounded by friends and the odd fan

So tell me I’m not happy, don’t you dare

I know that life isn’t always fair

But I’ve tried to make the most of things

And that kind of life is one that sings

Although I might not have got the girl

She will live on in my mind as a gleaming, unattainable pearl




Deborah found me on the floor today

I don’t remember how I got this way

The doctor said it’s to do with my heart

Apparently it has cholesterol as well as art

He’s put me on a regimen of meds and drugs

And told me to avoid loose carpets and rugs

With no more walks in the park

I’m afraid life’s grown rather dark

Deborah stays with me despite it all

Only by holding her hand can I even stand tall

Geoffrey said maybe it’s time to quit

Painting should be left to those who are fit

But I shall not lay down my brush just yet

On that alone has my mind been set

Until the day my body rots and fades

I will simply hire more and more maids

For the painter in me is all that I’ve left

And here it’ll stay until from life I’m cleft


A Remnant of Love


There is always the good and the bad

There is always the happy and sad

The latter then is my time spent in bed

Being washed by nurses and then spoon fed

In hospital now for my failing old heart

I stupidly fell while pushing a cart

If that is the bad then where is the good?

It surely doesn’t lie with the hospital food

No, instead it’s something much greater

I didn’t think I’d see her so much later

The spitting image of old Mary-May

Looking exactly the same as that fateful day

Cleverly I struck up a talk

As she was taking me for a walk

A physical therapist with a granny so nice

I would know, I once paid that price

That Mary-May has a family is great

I’m truly glad she found a mate

So please disregard the tears in my eye

And ignore the huffing and that big sigh

For now I’ll continue to chat

And see if her husband is really all that!




Oh how the mighty will fall

I still remember when I had it all

Deborah, art and my own little home

And now out of my room I’m not allowed to roam

Who would have thought that I would enter

Sunset Hills Retirement Centre

So now each day is just like the last

As we sit and stew and remember the past

I can feel myself begin to wither

As each day I dally and dither

All around me I see zombies afoot

Waiting patiently until in graves be put

We shamble and shake and lose our brains

Covered in so very many stains

This life is not one for the living

Of all my time I seem to be giving

So now I simply wait and lie

As I wonder when it’ll finally be time to die


The Shakes


This world is a cruel and hurtful place

Life is misery for the human race

It has finally taken everything from me

This gift I’ve had ever since I was three

To paint and create has been my role

It is correct to say I have art in my soul

But old age has robbed me of my greatest love

My fingers now shake and tremble like a nervous dove

The doctor said he couldn’t do a thing

My tenfold digits won’t listen to their king

I sit and stare at the canvas blank

It is heart-breaking, to be frank

Once my hands freely moved the brush

Now my fingers sit quiet and hush

My last joy in life is now truly gone

And so I sit patiently, and wait for this life to be done


Lost and Found


Recently I received an unexpected call

Louise, the therapist who helped me stand tall

She wanted to know where I now resided

I told her where all my time was spent bided

She said she had a birthday present for me

I said anything was fine, as long as it’s free

That was then and this is now

On this day I renew my yearly vow

And who was there as happy birthday was sung?

Mary-May, whom her granddaughter had brung

Her husband has gone ahead many years prior

I can’t say I miss that silly old sire

We spoke and chatted and talked for an age

She is more beautiful than a model and wiser than a sage

And in my heart all those old feelings leapt

From the deepest recess they squirmed and crept

As the evening finally drew to a close

I asked her if we were now friends or foes

And in reply she placed her hand in mine

And I knew then I had been given the sign

This love of mine which had caused a deep sore

After all these years, I was complete once more




No one lives forever, that’s what I know

Time is both a friend and a ruthless foe

So as my body shutters and stops

I reflect on a life of bottoms and tops

This fear of mine which has never really left

Will not follow me into the gravely cleft

Standing around my bed of death

Is everyone with which I have shared a breath

Jonathan and his own little boy

Arthur, he’s called, his pride and joy

Christie with tears in her eyes

They are real and true, no not lies

Deborah my companion and carer

We truly were birds of a feather

Louise the one who made all this real

I hope she knows how grateful I feel

Geoffrey holding my greatest work of art

A self-portrait that was made from the heart

Mary-May held my trembling fingers still

She was the strength to my very stubborn will

Together we made something quite great

It’ll remind her of me long after my fate

She sits beside the bed still weeping

I tell her it’ll look like I’m only sleeping

She looks so beautiful in her mourning dress

And I wish these feelings I could properly express

My gratitude to each and every one

From my loving carer to my rebellious son

It is thanks to them all that I’ve finally lost my fear

And that at my last breath… they are all here…


About the Author

Hayden Pearton is an independent author, physiotherapist and all-round good guy. He is humble beyond compare, and if you can believe that, you can believe anything. He started writing when he was eighteen and hasn’t stopped since. Autophobia is his fourth work, and the second in The Metrophobia Collection.

His other works are:

The Chronicles of New Eden 1: Awakening

The Chronicles of New Eden 2: Sunrise Sapling


Koinophobia: A Collection of Technical Poetry

For more information, visit my blog at

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