A History Of 11:56 PM

Trigger warning: This article contains sensitive content involving sexual harassment and assault.
Brannon Naito / Unsplash

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. TC mark


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