As narrated to me:
My bestie messaged me one fine morning inquiring “Why haven’t you written anything in so long?”. I replied saying I haven’t had an experience worth sharing in a while. However I did inform her that I was on an active look out for a story and perhaps my upcoming travel plans would be of some help.
In the last couple of months I have made many new friends. It is a diverse and interesting mix of people. The age group is very varied as well, in fact most people are much older than me but that does not really limit our bonding over many cups of teas and instant coffees.
Many of them are as old as my father, some even older. The episode I am about to share pertains to one such person(My Wise Friend), who I have been immensely fond of, looked up to and respected as a man of wisdom.
We meet frequently. My new friends and I. Most times we have end up having a jolly good time.
On one such evening, I decided to leave early. I had promised to meet another friend. At this point My Wise Friend informed me that he was also heading towards the same part of the city and would be glad to give me a ride. I readily agreed, in a big city where I knew such less people who else could I be safer with? Time was to disclose a different tale.
We were on our way, My Wise Friend and I. I noticed he had been a little fidgety and restless the whole time, so I asked him if everything was alright. In some ways I saw in him the relationship I had never been able to have with my father. He said, he was amazed at how observant I was and that it felt nice to know that someone cared. We both smiled, at this bond. But the bond probably meant two very different things to us.
He told me about all these troubles his little girl was having, after finishing college. As a young girl who had just gone through those years, I offered my advice, hoping it would bring some conclusion to both his dilemma and his daughter’s. I suddenly remembered how difficult it had been for me to communicate with dad about the inner turmoil and challenges that a just twenty something faces.
But in about 60 seconds, everything changed.
I realized we were heading to a different part of the city, than where I had to go. I told him that where I wanted to go was in the opposite direction and perhaps I should get off at this point and go by myself. He insisted I share a coffee with him, at his place, alone. All kinds of alarms went off in my head.
Right before we left, a certain friend of ours, who is known for his jokes having a certain sexual innuendo, cracked up on how curious it was that we were leaving together. My ears began to ring, when My Wise Friend, someone I looked up to as a Friend, Philosopher, Father turned around and said to me “Maybe we should give his curiosity some reason”
I immediately made some excuse and got off the vehicle. But his advances did not end there, he told me how I could drop by at his place anytime, because he lived alone. All I had to do was ping him and go over.
I muttered some kind of answer, when your brain is in over drive, words tend to tumble out without making too much sense. I got out on the road, walked a few paces, trying to catch my breath and suddenly something inside me broke.
I started to weep like a little child. On a hot summer day I was walking around the roads, trying to make sense of my location in general and of the world in particular.
Why am I sharing this story?
In the last couple of months I have been watching the news about girls getting raped, about children being molested. But by people unknown, they had if so to say been abducted and then violated.
No such thing happened to me, in fact what happened to me might also be passed off as an advance that I was free to accept or refute, because what’s the big deal, everybody tries.
But what’s to note is that this experience came to me from someone I was well acquainted with and trusted. That it was unexpected.
All of us love travelling the world. But we need to realize that as girls, our eyes and ears need to be perhaps on a higher alert than other mortal beings.
Noticing that we were off course, noticing that the advances might or might not be harmless, having the alertness to be able to disembark from the vehicle immediately, these are some of the actions I am proud of having taken on an impulse.
For some time, I was thinking if I should share this story or not. Because it could result in more restrictions for me. Maybe my parents would think I am hanging out with the wrong people and make sure I am safe by ensuring I am in front of them at most times. Hence the need to remain anonymous.
I also began to question myself, was I doing something to encourage this behavior. Was I coming across as someone who would like, enjoy and acknowledge these advances. And then I stopped, we need to stop finding faults with ourselves. I suddenly understand all those marches women have been going to, in skimpy clothes or nude even. I understood in a jiffy what they were screaming about.
I woke up this morning and realized, I was born to share stories.
We in life are sometimes so concentrated on fighting our unknown demons, that we forget that there could be worse things lurking in the shadows, the shadows we are aware of and can see. Being perceptive is a very big part of being safe.
I wish I had never had to go through this experience. But I will never forget what I have learned.
Like the poet Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters us.”
Love Always, Xena