Have you ever felt like you were being followed?
Maybe it was footsteps slapping against pavement behind you that tipped you off or the brisk whooshing of material brushing against itself with each stride. Maybe it was a glimpse of a figure in your peripheral vision—a shadow—something you couldn’t quite make out, but you could tell it was something. Someone. Maybe a whiff of cologne or body odor caught your attention in the breeze or surrounded you in a closed-in space, inescapable.
Or maybe, if you’re like me, it’s just a feeling without any proof.
The sheer terror of the unknown hovers ever closer, yet somehow, we feel the need to continue on our path as if it isn’t happening, paralyzed by fear.
I used to feel that way.
It’s like we’re afraid to be seen as paranoid if we glance over our shoulder or cross the street to see if they follow. Like we have more of a chance to get to safety if we don’t look back. If we don’t confront it. Maybe we do.
You could turn around. Maybe nothing’s there. Maybe it was all in your head.
Or maybe, you might get a good look at the person who’s already got you in their sights. Stare them right in the eye. Even speak up.
If you’ve ever felt like you were being followed, you know there’s danger in any course of action we take, and up until tonight, I chose to do nothing.
For the past few days, despite the terrible knot in my stomach and the chilling tingle of knowing on my neck, I picked up my pace to what I hoped was an unnoticeable amount. I rushed home to my mom’s and her boyfriend’s house, to the other side of the door, and locked myself in.
I tried to forget it happened—that it’s been happening since I made the agreement with the band—to ease the fear away. I tried to ignore my own instincts so I could feel some measure of safety while staying here alone since Ron took my mom on a two-week vacation to Maui to “relax and reset.” I told myself they’d be home next week, that I wouldn’t be alone so I wouldn’t be consumed with that same knotted feeling in my stomach, wondering who has been watching me these past two days and why, and if I’d be helpless if something came from it.
And it worked. I didn’t let the fear control me—until tonight.
Tonight, as the feeling crept over me again with home in view, I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I forced myself to turn around. I chose the known over the unknown, however dangerous it may be.
I never should have doubted myself, because what I know now has ignited my worst fears.