I begin my walk
I step to the beat of Killer Queen
as it plays through my earbuds
My heart pounds as I near the darkest section of the street
No streetlights to protect me
My dog trots beside me
But I know that he’d just lick whoever was out there
I hold my phone in my right hand
Prepared with the keypad open
I double-check that my keys are in my pocket
Prepared to put my house keys in my fist
I look behind me, seeing if anybody was there
Prepared to run if I saw something move
Over and over, I look back
Scared of what lies outside the streetlights
I enjoy the cooler weather especially with my short hair
Even though the colder weather, brings earlier sunsets
I get to wear bulky clothes
Allowing me to hide behind layers of cloth
With my combover, I had been mistaken for a guy before
I shouldn’t have to disguise myself as a different person
But I wanted to make it home safe, so I take precautions
I run through my checklist
just in case somebody walks past me
Head down when they pass by.
Push my shoulders forward to hide who I am.
Hold my dog’s leash tightly.
Turn the volume down or pause my music.
After they pass make sure they keep going.
Don’t forget to breathe.
I hear something behind me
I quickly look back as I begin at a jog
The leaves on the ground taunt me
as I run away from the wind
My heartbeat steadies, allowing me to breathe
I wish I didn’t have to do this every other night
I wish I didn’t have to be afraid of what was out there
I wish I didn’t feel obligated to disguise myself as somebody I’m not
I wish I didn’t have to protect myself from the unknown
I wish everybody understood what we go through
because maybe if everyone did, we wouldn’t be afraid