When I was a young girl, my mother used to tell me stories. Wonderful stories about princes and dragons. The princes would always kill the dragons to protect the princess. Then, the princess and the prince would ride away together on his white horse to some far off land where they would live happy ever after. The prince was always painted as some chivalrous, good-looking man with no faults. I idolized this type of man at a young age and I dreamed that one day my own prince would come one day and rescue me from my dragon. I guess I’m still waiting even to this day.
Something I have learned over the years is that I have to save myself from certain problems. I realized that some things I have to figure out for myself. For my own growth I had to learn how to be my own hero. One certain afternoon made me understand this.
It was a dreary Saturday in March. I had to walk to the farmer’s market that would always happen every second Saturday of the month. My mother told me to pick up some eggs and some herbs that she used to make tea that she drank every morning after she woke up. Personally, I hated that tea. It tasted like burnt cinnamon. But here I was, picking up the various ingredients for her mixture. The owner of the business was a middle-aged man with leathery skin that looked like he had been out in the sun too much. His eyes traced my face, my neck, and lower. I started to feel uncomfortable with his persistent gaze and tried to speed the process along. He told me my price and I handed the twenty that my mother gave me. When the man handed me my change his hand grasped my fingers for a moment too long and he smiled. I yanked my hand away which caused him to scowl. I walked away quite fast and headed back home on my normal path.
My new sneakers pounded lightly on the concrete sidewalks of the city I call home. Still shaken from earlier, my feet moved a bit quicker than normal. The clouds look like they are about to let loose any minute and I really did not want to be caught in a rainstorm when I was outside. I questioned whether or not I should get a cab to take me home but i decided against it because I needed to start saving every penny I own so I could buy a car for my seventeenth birthday. So I pick up my pace and put my hood on. Might as well bear this one out too. My purse swings back and forth violently as I walk hitting my thigh. Raindrops start to hit my face. I just wanna get home.
Nobody else is on the sidewalk is beside me. Probably because of the rain and generally, people are smart and go inside or hail a cab. Not me though, I keep plugging forward in the crappy weather.
At some point, I notice a black car pull up next to me and slow down. I don’t really pay any mind to but a couple minutes later I still see it out of the corner of my eye. Following me. Stalking me like it is some lion and I’m a weak gazelle. My instinct to run as far away as and as quickly away as possible. I see an alleyway between two storefront and quickly weigh my options.
I could continue on my original path and risk whoever is in that car causing trouble or I could turn down the alley and escape the car. I do not know where that alleyway leads though and how long it would take me to get home. I do know that if I stay on the sidewalk, my apartment complex in only three more blocks away.
I decided to stay on the sidewalk and just start to walk so fast that it is almost a jog. I was probably overreacting about the car anyway.
I look behind me to see where it went and to my fear, there it was, still hovering around on the side of the road. I see two grown men in the front seats looking at me and anxiety starts to bubble up inside of me.
They pull their car to the side of the quickly get out of it holding what looks like some sort of short bat. Fear comes crashing down on me and I pick my feet up and to run into a store that sells candy. If I stay in here long enough they will eventually go away. I look around the aisles at the old candy that is being sold here. It smells like baby wipes in this place and the fluorescent lights makes everything look grey and dingey. Even the smiling dancing pigs on the chocolate bars do not look happy.
I wait another ten minutes or so and go to peak outside. The rain looks like it has lightened up a little bit and the sidewalk looks empty again. I think it is time to make a move. I walk out of the store and instantly get knocked down to the ground with what feels like a brick. My knees hit the wet cement hard and next my head hits the ground too. Pain exploded behind my eyes like fireworks on the fourth of July. I start to feel hands grabbing at me. My pockets; my purse which was thrown over my head. Invasive little creatures violating my body. I try to push myself back up with my hands but I’m shoved back down again by a boot on my back. I try to scream but my shock has paralyzed my vocal cords. My eyes try to find something to grab to fight back but nothing is in reach and my hands start to feel numb. The men go through the plastic bag with my mother’s herbs and I start to think of her. What will she think when I tell her. If I tell her and these men don’t kill me right here on the street. They take my wallet and phone and stuff them into their pockets. I am helpless. I am a small bird in the middle of a hurricane trying to fly but getting bullied by the wind and the rain. Their hands start to get more aggressive and violating. Their hands getting more confident to grab me in places that are private and secluded. I need to do something fast before they take full advantage of me. No prince is going to save me now from these horrendous dragons. No white horse today. I force my legs to start moving. I watch as my left foot kicks one of the men in the head momentarily stunning him. I wrestle myself away from their parasitic hands and stand up. One of the men grabs my forearm and I aim my sloppy fist at his nose but I end up making contact with his throat instead. A lucky shot and he grasps his throat.
My feet carry me faster than the wind of a hurricane. I run and run and run until my apartment complex finally comes into view. I look behind me and I do not see the men following me. I thank God and the universe. I feel a stream of blood run down cheek. Along with the many tears that I have cried in the past two minutes. I crash through the door and run all the way up the stairs and into my apartment. My mother’s wide eyes fill with shock when she sees me. I run into her arms and start bawling. Her hands grasp me tight but in a welcome way; not in an malicious as the men’s hands did. I breathe in her scent and calm down a little bit. Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay.