Lesson #2 - Don't Walk Through Alleys
I had lived in the country for the previous 14 years. It was scary living in the city, all by myself. I, however, was determined not to give in to fear, and ended up doing a lot of stupid things, just to show myself that I wasn't afraid, even if I was.
My apartment was one mile from the office where I worked. I had a car, but it was old and unreliable, and I enjoyed walking, so I always walked to and from work. I did not, however, enjoy walking down busy, noisy city streets, so whenever possible I took alley shortcuts. These alleys were not ugly, trashy, rat-infested alleys that you picture in big cities; they were more like driveways between the small backyards of row houses. So, it was pleasant, especially in the spring and summer, when there were flowers blooming. One day, I was walking home from work, about 4:30 pm, and was in an alley, about halfway between one street and the next. All of a sudden, with no warning, I felt someone grab my ass. I jumped and screamed. A young man, riding a bicycle, zipped by me and then stopped a few yards ahead of me. He was grinning, in what to me seemed a menacing way. I yelled, "Leave me alone! Get out of here!" He biked a few yards farther and stopped again, leering at me. I kept yelling, as loud as I could. He kept going a little farther and stopping again. Finally, we were getting close to the end of the alley, and he gave up and rode away, I thought. But, when I got to the sidewalk, I saw him about a half-block away.
So, there I was, only about five or six blocks from home, but I didn't dare go home, because the bastard might follow me and learn where I live. I kept walking, zig-zagging back and forth until I was sure I had lost him, and finally got home. I ran up the stairs to my apartment and closed and locked the door. I was so upset, I needed to talk to someone. I called my friend, Kerry, and was telling her, through my tears, what had happened. I became aware that my buttcheek, where the guy had grabbed me, was itching wildly and getting worse by the second. Finally, I had to say goodbye to Kerry and examine the offending body part. The whole cheek was inflamed, and covered with big, red welts! Hives! Somehow, my body reacted to the affront, just as it would to some kind of allergen. Crazy, huh? It subsided after a while, and I made the second of many vows to be more careful in the future.