She Ain't No Bug, I Still Ain't Sleeping, and Some Wright and Some Dickinson

It's 6:00 am, that's six in the freaking morning on a Saturday, as I start writing this. All week I have been waking up at 4:00 and 4:30 in the morning, which has served to make my workdays seem extra long. Yesterday I woke up at 5:30 and thanked the powers that be for the extra hour-and-a-half of sleep I got. Now, on the first day of my weekend when I thought I would be able to make it all the way through the night and possibly make it part way to the afternoon, I am up before the sun.

But I digress. This is not about how I can't sleep. This is about the girl who came and knocked on my apartment door at 5:00 am, terrified and shoeless, asking if she could come in.

I sleep naked and hadn't bothered to put anything on, before answering the door. No, I did not greet the girl at my door at that ungodly hour with full frontal nudity. I had the good sense to keep the chain on the door and hide my white, white self behind it while I woke up and figured out what the hell was going on. When I saw that the girl in the hallway was young and scared, I wrapped myself in a sheet and let her into my apartment.

The whole time I was scrambling around my apartment looking for something to cover my nakedness, I was thinking how ridiculously stupid letting this girl into my apartment could possibly be, but I had put some sort of process in motion that I could not logically derail with my brain still half beer-fuzzy and half sleep-addled. Plus, she was shaking out in the hallway with no shoes, darting her head left and right as though someone might be after her.

I handed her the telephone and then proceeded to squirm around under my sheet for a couple of minutes. No, the previous sentence does not lead to a scene of knight-in-shining-armour/damsel-in-distress hot girl-on-girl bowm-chooka-bowm action. I was trying to get dressed somewhat discreetly while she made mildly panicked telephone calls to friends. I am not comfortable enough with myself to be getting naked in front of total strangers at 5:00 am. The poor girl was terrified enough.

From what I could glean from her conversations over the telephone and the scattered monologue she delivered when I asked her why she had to be in my apartment, she had a right to be scared. Her sister had introduced her to a guy three or four days ago, and tonight she left a party with him to go to his apartment. She had been spending a lot of time with this man and thought that he was a nice guy.

Once inside his apartment, though, she said that he became really creepy. He started talking really slow and making jokes about physically harming her. When they held hands, he turned her wrist back until it hurt her but didn't acknowledge that he was doing it. He put his hand to her neck and mock-strangled her. She moved so that he was not positioned between her and the door and then claimed she was going to be sick and ran from his apartment when he stepped away from her for a moment.

She figured that he knew she was scared, because he kept trying to get her to stay and wanted her to chug beer, presumably to get her drunk enough to pass out or at least to comply with whatever he had planned. At one point she pretended to down some beer to appease him but secretly kept her lips closed, because she didn't trust that he hadn't slipped drugs into it. I asked if she thought he might have been on something other than alcohol, and she said that the most she saw him do was pot. Pot doesn't generally make people turn into sociopathic creepazoids.

Great. I now have yet another intensely creepy neighbour to avoid in the halls.

This poor girl was anywhere between seventeen and twenty years old, and she seemed like a genuinely nice girl who had just made a really stupid decision. She was so frightened by what had happened and felt so vulnerable now that she was without her shoes, jacket, and purse. Every time the hot water pipes clanked, she would jump and ask me if someone was outside the door waiting for her. I had to assure and reassure her several times that he would have no way of knowing which apartment she was in and that my door was definitely locked. At one point, I got up and took the extra precaution of putting the chain on the door to help her feel more secure.

Eventually, she managed to get a hold of her uncle, and while we waited for him to show up with an extra pair of shoes and a coat for her, I made us a pot of coffee. We chatted for about forty-five minutes about how she was going to go back to school to get her high school diploma and how she was going to warn all the women she knew about this guy and how she was going to be more careful about being alone with men she doesn't know very well and how nice her uncle was to take care of her as much as he does.

Her uncle peddled up to the building on an old ten-speed bicycle. The girl was so freaked out that she wouldn't come down to the front door of the building to meet her uncle, so I brought him upstairs to her. She was so relieved to be leaving the apartment building that she almost forgot to thank me for helping her out, but at the last minute she took my hand, looked me in the eye, and gave me the most genuine look of gratitude I've seen directed at me in years. As she and her uncle walked away from the building with his bicycle between them, she kept looking back and up at my apartment window. I waved to her, and she just kept looking and looking.

The Universe, quite simply, does not want me to get adequate sleep. When I do finally fall into a deep slumber and could conceivably sleep in, it throws in some freaky incident to make sure that I don't break that four-hour barrier.

Her name was Carla, and she was gorgeous in the characterless, flaw-free way of newly blossomed womanhood. The idea that some man who lives downstairs from me would not recognize that she was a person horrifies me, but then I have never understood it when I have come up against someone who does not acknowledge another individual as a human being much like themselves who is worthy of decent treatment. As much as she made a stupid decision in leaving a party alone with him, she did not deserve to have some man revel selfishly in the fear he could make her feel. I suppose that I like to think that people are not like this, that no one looks at another human being as though they are some kind of bug with wings begging to be pulled off.

I hope Carla's safe tonight.

I hope that she and her uncle weren't faking their way into my apartment as part of their plans for a future break-and-enter scenario.

Aren't humans just darling?


"Fear Is What Quickens Me" by James Wright

"A darting fear..." by Emily Dickinson


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Elan MorganComment