Washington and I are totally in a fight right now and I don't know how it started.
I know why I'M mad. The events of the last ten days have certainly been cause enough to be mad. Even with the most amazingly supportive boss, friends and family, I've felt bruised and totally helpless.
You know that adorable swill I spouted about the Pinot Grigio and the French rap? Suffice it to say that what really happened that night was that I totally lost my shit on the corner of 14th and C Southeast. What possessed me to walk to that party by myself at 11:00 PM I can't quite pinpoint, but I think I had a justification resembling "they can't make me afraid of my own neighborhood. I won't let them." That, of course, is bollocks.
That night, I became the girl I swore I never would be. I became the girl who cringes when a strange man walks by her at night. He actually leered at me "heeeeeey, white girl, what you doin' all the way out here," as if I'd been pushed out of a plane and parachuted into enemy territory. He sauntered past and just ahead of me, walking too slowly and close to my path for my shredded comfort level.
Having never hyperventilated (to my knowledge), I can't identify the feeling-- but this was the closest I ever hope to come. I grabbed my cell phone from my purse, flipped it open and started jabbering to no one, hoping he'd think I was on the phone with someone very fierce and strong and very close by.
"Hi honey, I'm almost there... no I said I'm almost there... just a couple of blocks over... no, I'm almost there."
Did I mention I flunked Improv at theater camp?
He was still sloooowwwwly sauntering and I was dangerously close to a full-on freakout. The idea of stopping in the middle of the steamy, hostile block was awful, but not as awful as being at his heels, waiting for him to turn around. I stopped on the corner and called everyone I could think of, but people seemed to have other Saturday night plans besides comforting a terrified EJ.
Finally I did the unthinkable. I called my mother. I called her and asked her to talk to me, to tell me a story, until I could walk to this house and get behind walls and doors. And she somehow didn't yell at me for being so stupid, which any other time would have made me feel worse except I was too busy being scared of every raindrop. And so, from central Michigan, she walked me to that house.
I hate being that girl. I've been in this city for six years and have NEVER been that girl. I've never been scared of my own or anyone else's shadow. I like to think I haven't been too cavalier, though God knows I've made poor judgement calls and walked alone more than I should. But I have never been that white girl who is scared of her own "transitioning neighborhood." I did everything right! Look at all the valentines I've written to this neighborhood and this city. He didn't so anything bad or threatening besides leer, and I'm used to leering by now. Leering usually doesn't bother me.
But leering on a steamy street in Southeast, alone and in the middle of the night...
So yes, Washington and I are in a fight right now. And the apocalyptic rain is NOT helping. I've already showed emotion in public this weekend; could we please refrain from keeping the sky from sobbing along?
I think we need to take some time away from one another.
No, we're not splitting up. But we are definitely on a break.