I'm scared. Walking somewhere alone in the dark is like being in an M Night Shyamalan movie. Except, there is no protagonist, there is no end, and you're the irrelevant girl who dies in the background. This experience is so common now that it stops feeling like fear at all and more of a security blanket.
If I'm scared, at least I'm prepared. I'm ready for it to happen. Whatever my fate as a woman is.
I expect something to happen someday. I don't know when, or where or what.
Today I'm not scared for myself. I'm scared for my friend.
"I'll see you tomorrow, we can watch a movie at my house," she halfheartedly waves, knowing she'll see me tomorrow instead of having that thing happen to her tonight.
"Okay," my insides feel like jello. Jello that's been chopped up into little pieces so it looks like soup or worm guts.
I watch her from the window until a few seconds after she disappears into the darkness.
I go upstairs to get ready for a birthday party tonight.
"Yeah, let's go," I put on my favorite lipstick. It's pink and makes me smile more I think.
We walk to the party, it's only a few blocks away. I know the people in the cars driving by are all staring at my exposed stomach. I'm a college girl, so I have this disease called objectification. O-b-j-e-c-t-i-f-i-c-a-t-i-o-n. It makes me feel guilty that my body exists. Side effects are insecurity, injury and sometimes death.
I feel silly. I'm a woman and this is just my body. Skin, blood, bones. I'm not doing anything wrong. Everyone else should feel ashamed for sexualizing me, for thinking the same thoughts as people like Ted Bundy or Richard Nixon.
I stand up straight and put my arms down. Athena once killed thousands of men and started a war because someone said she wasn't the prettiest goddess. I wonder what she would think of me.
Some boys are staring at me and my friend, one of them whistles. I'm not sure which one, but is he as ashamed as I suddenly am?
I picture a man at a car show.
The man squats down to the same level as the door handle and gives a low, slow whistle.
"She's a beauty," he elbows his friend without removing his eyes from the bright red paint on the car. His eyes are intense and burning like Gollum in "Lord of The Rings." I laugh at that and jontily cross the street.
After the birthday party, my friend and I go to a fraternity. I squint at the flashing lights. They're pretty. One of them is the same color as my lipstick. I smile.
Someone behind me keeps bumping into me. I don't mind.
I'm starting to get tired. The air is sticky and hot. I want to leave, but first I want to find the cute boy I saw earlier. The one with brown hair. Just to look at him. His eyebrows are big and expressive and remind me of a cartoon character...like his name should be Jerry. I start looking around for Jerry.
I stop, suddenly paralyzed, and suck in a sharp breath of hot air. I'm worried it was all carbon dioxide and no oxygen. I feel like I was just electrocuted. No, that's not it. Someone is grabbing me. Their hand is on my butt. It was an accident. No, their hand is still there. I decide not to turn around and tell them to stop because that would be awkward and girls aren't supposed to be confrontational. I step away from the hand.
I can't hear the music anymore. I look around the room and notice how dirty the walls are. Someone on the other side of the room is sweating a lot.
I see the pink light again. It's dull and unamusing this time so I don't smile. I focus on it really hard even though it's boring now so I can stop thinking about how tired I am and how I'm breathing all carbon dioxide and no oxygen. That must be why I'm getting dizzy. I try not to think about the catcaller from earlier and the people in the cars who looked at my midsection and thought I was a slut. I remember I have to walk home and I become afraid of that thing again.
Someone bumps into me. I stumble and almost fall this time. I feel so weak like all my energy is gone and I'm the flashy car that man whistled at, but something is wrong and I can't fix it because girls don't know anything about cars. I frown at the reminder that if I'm stranded on the side of the road someone could attack me. Is that from an M Night Shyamalan movie?
I walk home very fast, hopefully away from the thing. Although, I know you can't walk away from it. No matter what direction I choose it's ahead of me.
I think I want to take a boxing class. I want to learn to fight.
I get home and google where I can take a class nearby. There's a place only 10 minutes from my house. I click on the video at the top of the page. The video is only men. I don't see any women.
I don't think I want to take boxing anymore.
I suddenly wish I wasn't wearing my favorite lipstick. I frantically try to wipe it off, pressing down hard with the back of my hand, but it just smears everywhere.
My fate was sealed with a kiss, stained bright pink. The warped pink smudge on the back of my hand smiles at me, insidious and taunting.