When I decided to move out of my mom’s house, she was scared. Her fear latched on to me. As a consequence, I became afraid. Every night that I returned home, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, wary of every stranger. It seems like in life the very thing you fear tends to come upon you.
One bitterly cold Chicago evening, I was walking home from work, as I always did, when a short guy wearing jeans and a dark hoodie started to follow me. I knew he was actually following me because I made a quick stop by the video store and as I opened the video store door, I saw his face as he passed by, clear as iced water.
Leaving the video store, I turned in the opposite direction of the hooded man, pulled my own wool coat hood over my head and braved the cold sleet that had begun to fall.
Out of habit, I turned to look behind me as I turned the last corner from a busy street to the noticeably empty one that contained my apartment. As I looked, I saw this hooded man racing quickly toward me. When he noticed that I saw him, he yelled, “Ma’am excuse me, excuse me!”
Needless to say, I took off like Flo’ Jo’ across the street and back to my place of employment. My then manager happened to be there and after prodding decided to drive me home. Oh, yeah did you read the post about the mentally challenged people I worked with.
A couple weeks after that, in broad daylight, a man asked me for a dollar as I made my way home from work. I said no and he started to follow me. I crossed the street, he crossed the street. I crossed again and so did he.
I don’t know what came over me but there is a time in your life, especially being a woman, when you get tired of being afraid. You are tired of hearing about rape statistics. You are tired of random assaults on the news. Long ago, you have realized that there is no Superman coming to swoop down to your rescue.
All of the collective fear of so many women, my mother and me came to a head and erupted. I turned stared, this man dead in the face and yelled at the top of my lungs, “DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM!!!!!”
The look on this guy’s face was priceless as he stopped dead in his tracks turned and hurried off.
Yes. He was afraid.