Tuesday Morning Harassment
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Tuesday Morning Harassment

A creative non-fiction story about my experience with casual street-level harassment.

Tuesday Morning Harassment

An hour before I'm scheduled to begin, I am walking to work. I want some time to myself to sit, write, drink my coffee, and prepare for my day.

Headphones in, I am cognizant of my surroundings as I make my way down the street.

I am tired. I need coffee. I want to go to sleep.

A block from the office, I pass a man to whom I give no thought.

Half a block from the office, that same man confronts me, tapping me on the shoulder.

It's 8am. What could he possibly want?

I'm startled. I don't expect someone I don't know to come talk to me, let alone touch me to get my attention. When I look his way, he is smiling a friendly, unassuming smile and holding a folded napkin in front of me.

Thinking I can hear him, he speaks.

I see his lips moving, but can't hear him over the sound of my music.

"What?" I ask, taking a headphone out of my ear.

"I don't mean to startle you," he says, "but I saw you walking down the street and wanted to let you know that I think you're very beautiful. This is for you."

I confusedly take the napkin, thanking him, wondering if I had dropped it at some point while I walked, still not registering what's going on.

"What is this?" I ask. He smiles.

"It's my number," he says, still smiling.

"Oh," I say, "well, thank you."

Then he asks my name.

Dumbfounded, I tell him. He tells me his, too, and I shake his hand like I would with any other stranger I was just meeting.

I don't remember his name.

As I'm getting ready to walk away, he playfully asks me if I'll be calling him, to which I nervously laugh and say, "Maybe." He gives me the old, "Aw, come on now," but I don't respond.

I keep walking down the sidewalk past the office entrance.

I don't want him to know where I work.

I don't know what else to say or do, but no matter how nice this guy seems, all I want to do is get into the office and be left alone.

I tell him to "have a good day!" as I walk away - a method of ending the conversation. I make out that he says "you too!" while continuing to talk after me.

I am no longer listening.

I swiftly walk until I reach the corner of the block, turn right, and go to the side of the alley behind the office. I figured I'd wait about 5 minutes until he walked down the block and out of sight so I could unlock the doors and get inside.

I look down at my phone to check the time and coincidentally see the napkin with his number on it.

Why did I stop to talk to him?

Suddenly, I hear a car horn honk. It's the man.

He followed me where I walked to get away from him.

He watched me as I walked away.

Scared, I look up and see him with his window unrolled.

He speaks at me.

"Don't forget about me," he coyly says with a mischievous smile.

Not even two minutes had passed from our first interaction.

He followed me.

He idles in his car, blocking the right lane, waiting for a response.

"I won't," I stupidly reply, nervous he is going to come closer.

He smiles and keeps speaking, but I quickly walk back towards the office, looking over my shoulder with every second step I take.

My breathing has become shallow. My heart is in my throat. My small hands are clammy as I reach for the door.

I am fumbling with the keys, shaking - afraid he is watching me again.

Gold key first, then silver. Or is it silver, and then gold?

I am worried he's going to circle the block and come back around.

I couldn't get the key in.

He followed me once; he'll do it again.

I couldn't get the key in.

He knows my name.

I couldn't get the key in.

But he doesn't know my number.

I got the key in.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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