“Aye, baby, lemme get some of your water!”
“Come back with a better pickup line, and maybe I’ll think about it.”
Stacy tucks her water bottle under her arm, juggles her keys in her hand, closes her fingers around the small can of pepper spray on the chain, just in case he takes her comment as an invitation to follow her to the car.
That happened to Remy just last week, in this same parking lot. Thankfully, a cop was a few spaces down, writing up a police report for a minor fender bender. He gave the creep a stern talking-to about boundaries. It might’ve made a difference had the guy been a twelve-year-old boy, but it gave Remy enough time to speed out of there before he tried anything else.
Tisha wasn’t so lucky. Her husband is still afraid to touch her. She doesn’t go to the gym at night anymore. Too risky. Men are bolder after dark. Cat-calling no longer satisfies the itch. They upgrade to touching, groping, tackling, pounding behind empty brick buildings.
They don’t even wait until a woman’s passed out now—too much like fucking a dead person, and they enjoy the chase too much, the fight.
Stacy wishes her rapist shared that sentiment.
When she’s safe inside her car, she doesn’t wait for it to settle in. She locks the doors and puts it in reverse as soon as the engine turns over. When she glances up at the rear view mirror, she sees him standing in the center of the lane, arms raised as if to say, Leaving so soon?
“Yes, getting as far away from you as possible.” She’s built up her endurance on the treadmill in the last year. Can sprint a mile in under ten minutes and maintain a steady breathing pattern. She has to keep in shape in case she has to run again. Won’t let another man catch her.