Why Me?

October 13, 2017
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I was on my lunch break, walking to the dollar store to get a drink and some jerky, the dollar store was down some business driveways and across a busy intersection. I was listening to Nothing's Gonna Harm You from Sweeney Todd with one earned out, listening for footsteps or other sounds.

The lights flashed almost invisibly in the bright burning sun of Florida. ‘I should bring my sunglasses tomorrow’ I thought. I always say that, but I end up forgetting and leaving them at home. I turn to the crosswalk to my left to pass the major street of the intersection. I crossed the first two stopped lanes and entered the thru-traffic pathways, all was well till a speeding car came around to direct right turn as I was walking across, tears sprung in my eyes as I quickly jogged to the safe sidewalk. My heart tearing through my chest in fear – almost like a wild beast were after it. I had to stop and do breathing exercises to calm down.

‘Not again. Not here.’ I thought to myself. All went well in the store, I got a soda, jerky and a bit of mints for my lunch and started walking back to work to eat in the office since my coworkers left as I was in the store. I waited for the light and started crossing, now listening to The Batty Rap from the movie Fern Gully. Once the light changed I waited for a second and crossed, noting the clear crossing lane of the street across from me.

I take my first step into the second thru-lane when I see something that seizes my heart. A car was speeding towards me. It careened through the turn lane, despite the blaring red light, shaded by the sparse tree coverage above them, so it was easily visible. I felt my body seize for a second until my feet took action. I ran as quickly as I could -which isn’t really fast at all- and noticed I was actually running for the protection of the stopped cars. I wanted to scream and walk like a newborn baby. Everything moved in slow motion.

I stopped and fell to my knees as the car raced past, sending pebbles to bounce of the side of my jeans. I was back. I could feel the grill of the truck pressing into my side. It didn’t hurt, more like fitting in a tight space. Too tight. I’m scared. I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see. dark. Dark. DARK.

Gravel. I was back at the intersection. I was here. With the bag around my wrist, hands and knees pressing into the burning, uneven gravel of the road. I had 14 seconds to cross before I was in danger again. I looked around standing up. My frame was shaking, I could feel it. The tears pricked at my eyes again and I couldn’t hold one back as I looked at the driver of the car I sought safety from.

I couldn’t see much of him with how quick I was looking, but the sight of him seemed to last forever. A sad, worried look on his face. Pity. I look around, despite not seeing their faces, I could sense the other drivers' pity and impatience. I looked at the walk light, eyes not straying from the ticking numbers. I didn’t want their pity. I wanted to be normal. I got to the other side with 2 seconds to spare.

I watch as a bicyclist weaves around on the sidewalk in front of the dollar store. Why can’t I do that? Why do I have to be afraid WALKING? I just want to forget it. I don’t even remember it happening, just feeling the hood on my side and hearing whooshing wind. Not only could I not use my bike – mangled beyond compare- I couldn’t even get on it without crying out in fear at each passing car, or shaking as I pedal, or having to look both ways several times before passing. The look left-right-left rule didn’t help me then, why would it now?

I see Jaywalkers as I walk and I remember the bicyclist. Why could he get away scot-free with reckless biking, but I -a strict rule follower- get mentally and physically scarred forever? Why did it happen to me the ONE time I didn’t wear a helmet? I wasn’t listening to music, I wasn’t distracted, I was focused. He was speeding, he was reckless, he endangered children! But he doesn’t have to worry about destroyed body functions, or mental problems. He doesn’t have to worry about fearing a truck coming out if nowhere to hit him again.

What did I do?
Did I do something to deserve it?
Why me?
Why me?
Why me?





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