I grip my keys tighter and walk faster. I can hear the blood rushing in my ears, and feel the heat crawling up my neck.
I’m feeling scared.
I shouldn’t be,
because it’s 3pm on a Tuesday
and the sun is shining
and I’ve just had a coffee by the beach
and I’m wearing baggy jeans
and an oversized shirt
and there is nothing special about the way I look.
I shouldn’t be afraid,
But I am.
The group of guys keep laughing and saying disgusting things at me as I walk, and I don’t know what to do.
Is this the moment where I defend myself? Where I yell or say something clever and snappy that penetrates the tin skulls of these guys?
I try and think of the words, but I don't have any.
I’m not in a movie with a neatly-timed comeback, and I’m afraid.
They're in their car now, and they follow me. It’s become a game. They’re jeering and making lewd comments that make me want to block my ears and scream.
And I know I’m making a big deal of nothing. I know I should be used to this.
I know that I'll make it home, and that to these guys it's all just a big joke.
But what if one day...
...it's not a joke?
I make it to my car, heart still skipping, and turn the music up to drown out the blood that rushes in my ears. I keep glancing at my rearview mirror at the crude gestures until they're finally out of view.
What did I do wrong? I wonder, drumming my fingers on the wheel.
After a while of driving, the anger comes. I feel a rage so deep and intense that it frightens me. I grip the steering wheel tighter and glare out the windshield, watching the world pass me by through blurred tears.
It shouldn't be like this.
Not on a Tuesday afternoon.
Not in a public place.
Not here. Not ever.
Please. Enough with the jokes.