A small snippet of a bad day, and on being silent about things that should be addressed.

CW for mentions of implied rape and violence. I also wrote this in a state of panic so it might show in my writing.

“I want to buy a camera, come with me?”

“Sure.”

“Meet at 3.30?”

“Sure.”

2.01 pm

I get dressed. Black leggings. No. Black tights. I make sure they’re not torn. They’re okay. I’m okay. I’m dressed.

My phone rings. I don’t hear it. It’s on silent, but it is loud anyway. I’m avoiding a conversation I don’t want to have. It’s unfair. I think it’s unfair to be outted like that. Outted. I’ve been outted.

I am out. Out. Out. I need to go out. Now.

Silence. Finally.

I’m dressed. Stressed? Dressed. Stressed? Dressed. I am okay. Make up. Blue? Green? Purple? Orange? Blue. Feeling blue. Always. No, purple. Technopagan. It’s liquid. Apply it.

Eyeliner? Eyeliner. First try. Sucks. Second try. Sucks. My hands shake. They always shake. I am shaking.

Third try. Sucks. My eyes are red. My skin is red. I bought the wrong makeup remover. Be kind to yourself. Fourth try. It works, but only half way. I’m okay. This works. I make it work. I need to work.

Faster. Faster. Louder .

My phone rings. Again. I pick it up. I answer. It’s silent. A silent conversation. Stop. I need to go out.

Out. Out. Out. Now.

It’s cold. I wish I hadn’t gotten up this morning. I think about cancelling. 2.29. I still have time. I don’t. I don’t feel good. Today is bad. Bad. Bad day. I know. I know. Why? I don’t know. I know. I know things. I think. I walk.

Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down. Down and out. I am out. Out. Out. Out.

Quick. One block. Two blocks. Red. Stop. Stop. Stay. Still. Car. Car. Cars. Don’t. Stay. Bus. Car. Car. Green. Go. I walk. Walk. Walk. People walk. I walk. Across. I cross.

I hear someone say hey. I don’t turn around. It’s not for me. I don’t know anyone. No one knows me. I am invisible. Camouflage green. Green. Green. Green. Alpine Green. Green. I need green. Money. ATM. Money for the camera. I walk into the mall.

It’s warm. Warm. Warm. I am warm.

Three steps to the left. The ATM machine. There’s a camera in the corner. There’s a camera in the machine. Camera. Camera. Camera? Watch me.

“Hey.”

Who? Me? Are you talking to me? Please, don’t. I’m cornered. Camera, watch me.

“I’m Denzel.”

Who?

He extends his hand. I shake it. I am polite. My mother taught me to be polite. I think I recognize him. A part of me wants to recognize him. I am not talking to a stranger. I am not talking to a stranger. I am not talking to a stranger. I am talking to a stranger. I am. I am uncomfortable. I know it shows on my face. I let go. I step back. I need to withdraw money. I need to leave. I am running late. Running. I want to run. I want to escape. I say I need to use the ATM. I ask him to step away from me. He says he wants to talk to me. He says he will give me two minutes. He says he will wait for me. For me. Me. Not the ATM. I tell him not to. He says he wants to. I tell him I don’t care. He says he does. I am scared. I want to tell him to fuck off. I do. I can. I want to. I remember my mother telling me not to disgrace her with such language. I remember her saying this. I remember our silent conversation from a few minutes ago, so I don’t. I look at him. I want him to leave. I want to scream. It’s impolite to scream. I wish my mind knew that. I wish my body didn’t.

Camera. Camera. Camera. I should be safe.

I don’t feel safe. I ask him to leave. To go away. He doesn’t. He says he wants to talk. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t. Talk. Scream. I remember.

I remember: what happened, what I did, what didn’t happen, and what they didn’t do.

I remember being seven, maybe younger. I remember walking in a toy store. Alone. Followed by a shadow. A bigger shadow. An older shadow. I remember touching. I remember hurting. I remember running. I remember telling. I remember anger. I remember confusion. I remember. I remember. What I don’t remember is an explanation. I remember being told that silence is golden.

I only wear silver.

I don’t scream. I freeze. My heart doesn’t. I think I’m running, but only my thoughts race. Not again. Not again. Not again. Please. I ask him to leave. Please leave.

He doesn’t. He stays, and I want to die. I am green. Green. Green. Green. Green. My hands are shaking. Shaking. Shaking. I am shaking. I walk.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight steps. Big steps. I think I’m running. My legs burn like it.

The receptionist is working. I can’t breathe. I can’t. I can’t. She is talking to another woman. I can’t interrupt them. I can’t. I’m polite. I shouldn’t. I do it anyway. I tell her. I tell her about Denzel. I tell her about the stranger. My hands shake. My voice shakes and cracks, and I wish the earth would crack open and swallow me whole. I can’t breathe and talk at the same time. I tell her about the man. Who followed me. Who stopped me. Who wants to wait for me. For me. For me. Me. He is waiting. I’m shaking. She asks which man. I say that man. He is hurrying out of the mall. He isn’t very quick. The door doesn’t work that way. Which man, she asks me. Again. That man, I scream and point a shaky finger at him. The man in the green jacket. The man in green. Green. Green. Green. Green. Green. Green is safe. Not. Not safe. He is walking out. The receptionist asks me to calm down. I tell her I’m scared. I don’t feel safe. She tells me he is gone. I tell her he isn’t. He is out there. Waiting. Waiting for me. For me. For me. I think I may die. A part of me hopes I do. I want to make it stop. It doesn’t. I tell her I need to leave the mall. I need to withdraw my money and leave. I don’t feel safe leaving. She tells me to take another exit. I tell her I can’t. What if he is there? I don’t plan on leaving the mall. I need to take the metro, but I don’t tell her that. She says she can call security over. I tell her they won’t be quick enough. She says I shouldn’t worry. I don’t think she understands, but I don’t argue. I thank her instead. I am polite. I withdraw my money. My hands still shake. I walk past the reception. I go down to the metro station. I look around. Once. Twice. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight times.

The two minutes are up.

He isn’t there, but he is waiting. He’s waiting. For me. For me. For me. Me. I know. He said so.

I get on the metro. I sit next to an old lady. A lady. I cry. Silently. My mind screams. My body stills. I wish it were the opposite.

I breathe.

In. Out. In. Out.

I’m okay. I make it work.

I meet my friend. I buy my camera.

I look out for anything green for the rest of the day.

I tell my best friend about this. I tell her not to worry about me. I tell her this is normal. I choke on the last word. I know it isn’t but I say it anyway. I tell her it isn’t the first time it has happened. It won’t be the last. She tells me to buy some pepper spray. I tell her I don’t like carrying weapons. She tells me it doesn’t matter.

I don’t tell my mother. I don’t need anyone to worry. It’s okay. I’m making it work. I stay silent. I can’t. I can’t stay silent. No one should. It’s not stupid. It’s not a burden. It’s not shameful. It’s reality. It’s happening. It’s real. So fucking real, so talk about it.