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Downtown

I have a problem, and I'm starting to think it may be a life-or-death one. Or at least it seems so to other people, which is why I think this.

I cannot distinguish the difference between a “bad” neighborhood and a “good” one.

When my friend and I walk down E. Gay Street downtown, I admire the authenticity of the buildings. However, anyone who knows their way around downtown has chills running up and down their spine at the mention of that street name.

I couldn’t imagine why for the longest time. Whenever we walk our route along that road, there isn't a person in sight.

Usually, that is, until one day an African-American man, my height, a beanie pulled over his head and a large parka coat swallowing his body, walked into the scene.

So here we are, walking down E. Gay Street when I hear him whistling a tune. It's something that stands my arm hairs up even more in the midday chill, like the hint you're supposed to pick up that something bad is about to happen in a movie.

“Maybe we should fast walk a bit, see if we can lose him,” I murmur out of the corner of my mouth. And that is when, without warning, my friend takes off down the street, only stopping multiple run-down stores away to look back in my direction.

That is when I realized that she was afraid on that street. But I did not fear that place at all.

Something may have seemed fishy about that man's tune, but I didn't think he was going to follow me for several blocks before beating me black and blue, stealing all of my belongings, brutally raping me, then slicing my throat and leaving me for dead behind an abandoned building.

Almost everyone I know is waiting for the day I end up in a hospital bed, covered in cuts and bruises, looking up at them with puppy dog eyes while they shake their head and say, “I told you so.”

It hasn't happened yet.



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