11:50 p.m. It is the end of the semester and I have just stuffed my head full of facts and dates and names that my history teacher insists I know.
11:51 p.m. One of the two guys in our small group offers to walk me to my dorm which is across a dark campus. I smile at his gallantry, but decline his offer. It is a short walk, and I enjoy listening to the crickets and looking at the stars.
11:52 p.m. He hesitates to let me go, but he still turns away.
11:53 p.m. I begin my walk. Brick sidewalks lit dimly by streetlights, almost romantic, if you manage to keep your fingers warm.
11:55 p.m. A white truck pulls up the potholed road and I recognize four men in the vehicle.
11:55 p.m. I tuck my hands in my jacket pockets, tilt my head down, and walk just a little faster.
11:56 p.m. The truck is idling along the sidewalk, slightly behind me.
11:56 p.m. There is a coarse male voice, roughened by screaming matches and cigarettes. “Hey baby! Let us give you a ride!” The other men in the car cackle and repeat his offer.
11:56 p.m. I do not make eye contact though they are next to me now.
11:56 p.m. I speed up ever so slightly.
11:56 p.m. The white truck has noticed that I am ignoring them. They honk their horn and yell louder.
11:56 p.m. This does not change my course.
11:56 p.m. The engine revs and there are a few shouted slurs.
11:57 p.m. They are gone.
11:58 p.m. I am running now, not sure if the white truck will turn around.
11:59 p.m. I reach the building and throw myself into the warmth of the lobby. Surprised faces lift from neatly scribbled notes and textbooks, but none of them say anything.
12:00 a.m. It is the next day.
12:01 a.m. I must not forget the dates and names and places for my history final.
12:02 p.m. I will not forget their faces and the names they called me.
12:03 p.m. There are stories like this. Histories like this. Names and faces and places like this. Their stories end differently than mine.
12:04 p.m. And they do not end in a warm lobby in the comfort of a crowd.