but for a moment I froze

Last night I was walking home from work. I’d gotten off the bus and was making the trek home. The route is pretty well lit, and coming up the way I saw a young girl walking and a young man following her about 10 yards away. He was saying something I couldn’t make out and she seemed uncomfortable. Then, as I pass both of them, he starts jogging to catch up with her. He puts an arm around her and she shoves him right off and says something firm. He backs off but keeps walking by her. They talk, headed toward a more populated part of the campus they’ve just made it onto, but I turn toward them, watching.

I know she’s uncomfortable, or at least she was a minute ago. I follow them for a second, asking myself what I’m going to do about any of it? I don’t have a gun or a knife or anything if he turns on me. I wanted to keep pursuing, but for a moment I froze. It wasn’t my business. Besides, they were going to a well-lit open courtyard with people around. I keep walking home but by the time I reach my door I feel terrible. I hurry to call the security on the campus they had been on but my phone (of course) is dead. It won’t come back to life for 5,6,7,8 minutes. I’m getting increasingly anxious. It’s late and I don’t know who is awake in my apartment complex who I can ask to borrow a phone.

I offer my deceased telephone a few choice words, grab a slip-joint knife (the only weapon I have in my house) and run back to where I last saw them. The whole way, only about 3 minutes jogging, my mind is blank. I keep wondering what I’m going to do if I find them.

I don’t.


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