It’s not ok that I feel afraid.
It’s 7pm, and I’m getting off my train. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the station to my house. But it’s quite dark, even so early. It’s not ok that this 15 minute walk makes me wonder if I should get a taxi instead.
With no money and a desperate need for exercise, I start my journey. I follow a group of commuters off the platform and most of them peel away to their cars in the car park. Soon, the only person in front of me is a man – clearly a commuter, backpack on his shoulders and all. I see he’s taking the same route that I am.
I check over my shoulder, nobody is behind me.
As we walk, I remain about ten paces behind him. I feel a little bit like a stalker, trying to perfect the balance between being close enough that I feel remotely safe in someone else’s company, yet not too close in case he’s not the kind of company I want. That’s not ok.
He gets his phone out to make a call as he walks, my heart beat slows a bit – he can’t attack me if he’s on the phone, right? It’s not ok that I feel like this.
We walk this way for a while, but then he hangs up the phone, and suddenly my body is tense again.
A cyclist behind me rings the bell so that he can get by safely – my heart leaps into my throat. Soon, the cyclist is long gone.
Then the commuter turns off the path, and I’m alone. When I catch up, I see a couple walking their dog coming towards the path I’m on, I silently pray that they turn behind me. They don’t – they go the other way. I’m now alone, with just over 5 minutes of walking left. It’s dark and I’m frightened – it’s not ok.
The rest of my walk is filled with patches of darkness between street lights. I continuously check over my shoulder and quicken my pace. I locate my keys in my bag just in case. It’s not ok.
I finally make it to my doorstep and quickly get inside the house, safe.
It’s not ok that my fifteen minute walk was filled with so much fear. It’s not okay that I was simultaneously desperate for company and afraid of what that company might do. It’s not ok that the world, the evil in this world to be precise, has made me feel this way.
It’s not ok.