Last night, I had dinner with my friends. Naturally, we talked about so many things, laughed our huge hearts off and then got into more sobering topics. My friend was talking about how she wanted to look into other job options but the ones she found were just not a right fit and for many reasons. To which our other friend smiled or maybe he asked something (I forgot) but I immediately felt the need to check him and the situation. So I began to tell them what had literally happened 2 hours before we met for dinner.
I was walking home from work and it was really dark. For some reason, my township refuses to put up street lights because of some weird privacy residential thing. So I’m walking and it’s so dark that I cannot see anything in front of me (also because my eyes are kinda bad) and so I put on the flashlight on my phone. I keep on walking but then I started to sense someone following me. I looked back and sure enough, there the person was. So I begin to walk faster, simultaneously cursing myself out for not taking P.E time seriously. Then my mind just went on these multiple tangents on what I should do if things go south.
I began to look around to see if other people were in sight. Of course they were not and I was far off that no one would hear me if I screamed. It was like -1 degrees and each breath hurt. My toe which I had most definitely sprained falling down embarrassingly some weeks back hurt like hell. All I knew was that I needed to get to the lit area in front of the gym. I was trying hard not to panic and the person was getting closer. Then as God always does, He sent help. There were headlights and a car drove by. I used the opportunity of looking at the car to get a better look at the person but then the person diverted and disappeared into the rows of cars.
I did not pause to ask questions. I took it as my chance to flee. I sped to my apartment, locked the doors as soon as I got in and just sat on the nearest chair. As soon as I could breathe, I asked myself if this was the way to live. Literally, why do I have to fear for my life all the time? I’m constantly on alert on a normal day but even more so during the holidays when people around travel away. I always have to plan where I go, when I go and how I go because you can never be too safe. Even the knife in my side drawer and the baseball bat under my pillow may prove useless because will I be fast enough? Strong enough? Should I really be contemplating hurting another person because I want to save my life?
And maybe that person meant no harm. Maybe I overreacted. The thing is I cannot afford to function in the realm of ‘maybes’. None of us can.
I must have been going on rapidly for a while and when I stopped for a breath, my friends were looking at me quietly. So I said ‘I’m sorry, I forgot how I even got here’, and my friend said, “you’re not the only one. I think about that all the time as well.” My boss said the same thing today. So did my other friend. My sister. Your best friend. Your neighbor.
We are all tired of being scared.