IT was like any ordinary day. I would have taken the cab if I were not too late for an appointment. So there I was on an express train to the city, sitting next to the door, and busy playing a word game on my phone.
It has been my habit lately to play a word game. It’s my belief that doing so would help me keep my mental faculties intact until I breathed my last. I am not yet 50 but I have been having memory lapses. I have had COVID-19 too which meant that somehow my body would have been immensely impacted by the ferocious virus that killed two of my closest relatives and several others from our clan.
Back on the train. Yes, I was so engrossed playing my favorite puzzle. When I raised my head to find out where the train was, the guy across from my seat was staring. I felt uncomfortable. So, I bowed my head and went back to playing again.
After a few minutes of guessing words with my game, I felt the urge to raise my head again only to find out that he was still looking. I know what it was like to be stared at by someone interested in me. But this one made me fear for my safety.
My head was racing. I was inundated with images of Asian women attacked in the city and at the same time, I was running scenarios in my head. When the train stopped at Union Square station, I hurriedly took off, ran up the stairs, occasionally looking back to make sure I was not followed. I felt a little bit relaxed the moment the train’s doors shut. But I kept my brisk pace towards the platform for the 6 train.
My chest was pounding. I wasn’t at peace until I reached my next destination.
When I got the chance to relax, I told myself I would be more vigilant next time I take a train. I would keep my phone in my bag and I promised myself I would keep an eye on suspicious-looking commuters. I cannot keep my guard down.
When I sat down to think about it, I knew he wasn’t staring at me because I was attractive. I am not! Deep down my gut, I felt it was something else.
So, next time, I won’t be playing with my gadgets while travelling. It’s never safe to live in a bubble while navigating the streets and alleys of the city or travelling on trains down under.