Here’s a hot tip to anyone who wants to approach me:
DON’T do it when I’m unlocking my front door. I do not care if you’re smiling, offering me a basket of kittens or just trying to say hello. I will think you are someone who wants to hurt me and/or force themselves into my flat.
Because I have been taught to fear strangers. To not linger by the door. To perfect the routine “keys out unlock step inside close the door check the lock”, even in broad daylight. To be wary of unknown people (and sadly mostly men) when they say hello to me in the streets.
One of the first things I learned when I moved away at 16 was this: in this town there is a foot bridge known to all as the Rape Bridge. At first I lived too far away from it to have any reason to be scared. Then I moved to a flat closer to it. An acquaintance told me how she had been followed by someone in a cap and leather gloves. I walked uneasily whenever I was passing within 100 metres of it. Earlier this year someone stood outside my window and it took me way too long to realize. Around the same time, a girl was raped close to the foot bridge. Now I sprint if I have to pass within 100 meters of it after dark.
I was one of all those kids who was afraid of the monsters in the darkness of my room. I got over it, thinking there are no scary things in the dark.
How wrong I was.
So please, don’t approach me when I’m unlocking my front door. I’m sure you’re a nice person. But in that moment, you are the scary things that hide in the darkness, and I will not want to face you
I took me six months, but I finally cracked it. Let’s see how you guys do.
Which letter is next in this sequence: AEFHIKLM