“Mi ya blu trasis! E no, mi ya. Awo, red shirt!”
I gulp and it’s almost hard to breathe. My heart’s a beating drum in my chest. ‘Not today, not today,’ I pray. ‘This cannot be happening to me. Please let them not do anything to us.’ Is it too much to ask to just have a peaceful afternoon stroll down your street with your best friend? Is that really too much to ask?
The catcalling doesn’t cease. In fact, their drawls and smug, but revolting, comments increase in volume. Instinctively, I grab Eva’s arm and pull her close to me. I was never a touchy-feely kind of person but my instincts tell me we need to be close.
“Walk faster,” I whisper to her. “Just look straight ahead.”
As we hurry past them, I’m conscious of how short my shorts are and how much skin my singlet is exposing. I’m also conscious of their eyes all over me. On my face, down my breasts, lingering on my butt, and down my legs. Suddenly, one of the boys lurches towards us. A sharp pain hits me right between the eyes as a whiff of marijuana permeates from his skinny, but slightly muscular, body and the stench of alcohol is dripping off him. A million thoughts and worries are running through my brain but I force my legs to keep moving, Eva by my side. I look up just in time to catch a few of his features. His eyes are bloodshot semicircles on his face, dark shadows right beneath them. His lips are dark purple- so dark, they’re almost non-existent on his black face- and his hair a tangled but short matt on his head. If I get out of this situation alive then at least I’ll be able to tell the police what my rapist looked like. Funny how that’s the first thought that comes to mind when I see a male stranger, clearly on a marijuana high, staggering toward me.
Despite swaying unsteadily this way and that, and his obvious stumbling and tripping, he suddenly appears directly in front of us and faces us, forcing us to abruptly stop. His hand reaches out towards my shoulder. The revolting stenches seeping from him shoot up my nostrils to my brain, giving me a sudden headache as he moves closer, sour tears springing to my eyes. He says something, his speech heavily influenced by the lisp of a drunk person, but I don’t wait to find out what he says.
I bolt right past him, and it seems Eva had the same idea because she’s right next to me and we’re off. The dusty, white road is a mere blur under our feet, with cleaner, fresher air filling our lungs and smelling sweeter than we could have ever imagined. But my heart doesn’t stop trying to hammer out of my chest and my tears don’t stop rolling down my cheeks. We don’t stop until we’ve reached the corner of the street and on the road to my house. We don’t stop until we’re sure they aren’t behind us. We don’t stop until their hoots and cackles of laughter are just a faint ringing far behind us.
I clutch my stomach and suddenly, I lurch. I’m sick all over my legs. Eva pats my back but she’s also breathing heavily. I look up at her, and my fear and uneasiness are mirrored in her eyes.
Who knows what might have happened to us if we didn’t run when we did.