Just now, I was leaving the grocery store and walking to my car. It was warm enough that people had the windows down in their cars. Somebody yelled something. I didn't hear what. It was followed up by an explosion of laughter. Male laughter.
"Hey girl," somebody yelled. "I was just kidding. Come here for a second."
I glanced to my left and saw a twenty-something boy leaning out of his car window. He whistled, like he was trying to get the attention of a dog.
"Hey!" he said again. "Don't be mad. Come here."
Now. If you're a woman, you must know this feeling. This dread and fear that stops up the blood in your veins. I looked down at the pavement, feeling the hair on my neck stand up. This is it, I thought. This is one of those moments where I'm about to be annihilated. I'm about to be squashed by a catcall or a crude comment. I am going to be told that I don't matter. I am going to be reminded that I am a woman and I am powerless. That, because I'm a woman, it only makes sense that someone might leer at me, occasionally. Someone might make a comment about my body, single me out for having female anatomy. Somebody might whistle at me like I'm a dog and laugh.
I don't even know if they were talking to me. It didn't matter. It was enough to send a jolt of panic up my spine.
I got into my car while they talked and laughed some more. I waited to turn the key until they pulled away, until I felt safe and alone, again. Every woman has felt this way. Small and scared, like a child because of somebody else's joking.
I used to feel like something was wrong, but I didn't know what it was. I would try to make up reasons, like maybe my Pap might have a heart attack or my mom might go into a coma, again, but none of it was very convincing. I think that the truth was probably that I was a little girl and the world was a big place.
I still feel that way, sometimes, like lightning out at sea.
Today's post is a link up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write.
If you want to join in, write something about the details of your day
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