The light dims in the sky as my endless calls are met with no answer. After calling everyone possible, I realize the best idea is to start my long walk. Seven miles from a location I am unfamiliar with isn’t settling well in my stomach. Before I leave, I notice a rideless friend and ask her if she wants to join me. She agrees and we nervously start our voyage down the path of dark corners, empty streets, abandoned sidewalks and the hungry animals of the night.
Darkness falls as we walk; everything becomes unfamiliar and the shadows transform our surroundings. As if walking on thin ice we become hyper alert as cars pass, attentive when footsteps come near, and quiet when voices are high. Our glances shift every which way and loud noises cause our bones to shake; we scare each other with our breathing. The first whistle we receive is from a man in his thirties. He pops his head out of the car window while doing some sort of gesture with his eye (that seems to resemble a wink) and goes on his way. My immediate reaction is disgust which is quickly replaced with fear, after all the night is not on our side. There are too many hiding places and way too many stories that are bouncing around in my head. Walking…
Honk, Honk…whistle, whistle.
The women walked through the alley and never came back.
Women walked home and never got there.
Women yelling and screaming with no one was around to hear.
I ignore these thoughts and we anxiously continue. A feeling as though rocks are in my shoes follows me down my path. My friend and I hide our concerns with conversation and forced laughter but our minds are elsewhere. We talk as we approached a bus stop where two guys sit waiting. Their faces don’t seem important enough to remember, after all there’s no set face for danger; it is their gestures that resonate more. As we get closer I see their glances fall upon us and their smiles lift to one side. My friend and I pretend not to notice their piercing eyes as we pass them. Yet it seems as if our non reaction only causes them more pleasure because they stand as we pass and call after us, “Damn girl, you got a nice ass, why don’t you come and have a seat.” The rocks in my shoes grow exponentially and my heart rate accelerates. It is becoming hard for me to think straight. My friend and I look at each other knowingly and continue our walk without acknowledging their comments.
The minutes move like hours and hours like years, the thought of home far gone. Yet I focus on the goal to make it home –if only it were as simple as tapping ruby slippers together! As I glance down at my fitted jeans and blue t-shirt I wonder if my outfit is to blame for the reactions of the night and if I should fear it being my end? I wonder if these are the final thoughts one has when the night takes over, when finally the animal can’t take more of the taunting.
The braided hair,
Animal licks their lips.
The long pants,
Animals mouth waters.
The plain T-shirt.
Animals saliva. Drip. Drip,
It aims and—
ring, ring. (my phone)
“Hello?” I say.
A familiar voice answers, “Where are you? I’m coming to pick you up.”