Don’t be alone at night

15 Dec

Something happened tonight. It wasn’t much, but it was something I hope never happens again. Something that should never happen. But it does. More than some people would like to admit. And unfortunately, too few people care to react (in my city anyway).

It was as if my entire body had gone silent. My ears heard but didn’t listen, my body was unusually still, and the whirlwind of thoughts in my mind had died and only a few thoughts were circling my mind like lost elephants.

I was waiting for the tram, luckily it came quite fast (at 11:35pm) and I sat in a corner and stared out of the window. I could feel a tear taking its time to trickle down my face.

Then I heard a man behind me, he was speaking loudly, making a lot of noise. It sounded like he was speaking to an audience that none of us could see. It felt as if the world shouldn’t be able to hear him. I was afraid that he might be talking to me. But then I was so wrapped up in my silent bubble that he couldn’t reach me. Then I realised he wasn’t talking to me, he was saying things like “Look at that female, keeping her territory, she’s on her phone, females often do that, going on their phones, it makes them feel safer…”. I started to listen, I didn’t like what he was saying but I wasn’t sure who he was talking to, or about, until I heard him say “get out, get out of the tram!” And at the next stop a girl came out, phone in hand, and he said “See, it works, because she knows she’s weak in the end.”. The I saw his window reflection get up and I saw him pass me and sit next to a girl, then try to look at what she was doing on her phone and I decided to stop looking out of the window and concentrate on what was happening in front of me. She tried to hide her phone from his view because he was bothering her and she turned her head and they made eye contact. I know that if you ever want to ignore someone, the last thing you should ever do is make eye contact because that means that they know you’ve noticed them. Then he started saying things like “Hey you’re really pretty…”, nothing really mean or insulting but I was afraid for her. He saw me staring at him and asked me if I knew her, I answered the truth without thinking (as I usually do which is both one of my best characteristics and rather inconvenient in a few cases): I shook my head, I didn’t know her. Then he asked if I was texting her her and I shook my head again. He said “Oh good, I’m reassured”, that sentence sent shivers down my back. One woman sitting not to far away stared at me disapprovingly (I think) but I didn’t know what I should’ve done. Maybe next time I should go towards the girl as if I know her to push him away? But with all the silence in me I didn’t even know if I would’ve been able to speak. If it went any further I would force myself to get up and try to help but at that point I didn’t know what to do.

The girl ended up getting up and leaving at the next stop (along with a bunch of people) and then the man sat down in the middle with no-one around him so I went back to my window. I always kept an eye on him though.

He must’ve known not to come to me then. He must’ve seen that at that point nothing could reach me. I would only stare out of my window. He may have tried to make eye contact, but I was fervently avoiding that so I don’t know. I wasn’t on my phone. I don’t need to stare at it to feel safe. Maybe that kept him away. I don’t know.

The tram was coming to the end of the line and he was still there so I made sure to come out a while behind him and I saw him cross over to the other side of where I was going. I was walking to the RER (a sort of train that tends to stay in and around Paris) station and I saw him turn around to check where I was going. He looked right at me. But I figured it should be ok, he was on the other side. Until I saw him crossing the street. Then I started walking faster, I cut a corner and ran down the few steps between the cut corner and the pavement and as I got closer to the station I figured if I went fast enough I might just lose him. I could hear him calling after me but I couldn’t hear what he was saying, I’m pretty sure he said something like “Hey … are you a policewoman?” (and I was surprised he thought I was old enough to be one). He said other things I didn’t catch. When I got into the station I saw that my train was coming 3 minutes later and I prayed that the strange man wouldn’t follow me. I had to get to the other side of the tracks and I ran down the stairs and across the corridor. The train was coming in two minutes. Then I saw a man. Just a normal man, going up the stairs. I was going to try the escalator when I saw the red light and he turned around to tell me it didn’t work. Then he said a little sport was nice, with a smile. He felt kind and I felt so relieved. I was no longer alone. Which made me much safer already. As we walked towards where the train would stop the train was marked “à l’approche” (coming), and as I turned around (still walking but backwards) I could see the train coming and there was no sign of the first man. The second man, the kind one, probably doesn’t feel like he did anything at all, but he really reassured me and it almost feels like he saved my life.

I stayed alert and without music the whole rest of the journey home but nothing else happened.

I don’t know if I reacted well, I don’t know how I should have reacted. I can only say what happened. I’m asking for help, you who are so good at becoming other people and understanding things in ways few people can, what should I have done? And if it ever happens again, what should I do? I hope it never does but seeing the time I come home it’s bound to happen again sooner or later.


Posted by on 15 December 2015 in lost things


12 responses to “Don’t be alone at night

  1. glasgowdragonfly

    15 December 2015 at 07:49

    This sounds terrifying, especially in light of recent events where one should be vigilant of people acting suspiciously. Perhaps you should report it. The police may say this guy has done nothing, or do nothing but he may have or do, and then you have unburdened the responsibility you carry about the incident. It stops being your problem. I used to occasionally come across this sort of character late at night on public transport in London. To intimidate a lone person, a stranger, in this way is unacceptable and not normal behaviour. Be assured of that. Great writing – I was terrified reading it X

    • Banzaï

      15 December 2015 at 08:32

      How can I report it? “Hey this guy was bothering girls on the tram but I don’t know who he is”? And I wouldnt even know how to report it, where to go, what to do…

      • glasgowdragonfly

        15 December 2015 at 08:41

        Big brother is always watching. If you go to the police and say what time you were there I’m pretty sure they will see him (and you) on CCTV going from A-B. They have face recognition technology these days. Plus, who ever knows the stranger behaving strangely? That bit is not for you to worry about. Anyway just a suggestion. A way to make yourself feel better if you thought he might “do something” before he does it as I get the impression you’re pretty spooked. As I said, well written.

      • Banzaï

        15 December 2015 at 08:59

        Thanks, for both the compliment and the suggestion

  2. Bastet

    15 December 2015 at 21:52

    Dearest Banzai … I agree with glasowdragonfly… it wouldn’t be a bad idea to report what happened .. that is a very scary situation to be in … as she says there would be ways to identify him thanks to surveillance technology … as you know the time it would be easy for the authorities to spot him. Take care of yourself … and a very good write .. I wish I could believe that this is a very good piece of fiction.

    • Banzaï

      16 December 2015 at 01:37

      Don’t worry I’m fine, nothing more happened than what I wrote and I can take care of myself 😉
      And besides I can’t leave much later because then there are no more trains to take me home. In that case I either stay at school (it’s always open) or I go to a friend’s house and sleep on her couch. I’ve been coming home at impossible hours almost every day for about three months and this had never happened so I’m not too worried about it happening again soon ^^
      It’s sweet of you to worry but I’ll be fine! Thanks!

      • Bastet

        16 December 2015 at 06:00

        Glad you can take care of yourself, as you showed very well in your story … I’ve wandered city streets often for one reason or another in the past and nothing dastardly ever happened, though there were the wackos then too .. keep your eyes open dear girl … stalkers are worrisome night creatures. Happy holidays! and a big hug.

      • Banzaï

        16 December 2015 at 09:23

        Thank you!
        Happy holidays! These are the only holidays I’ll get until July so I’m going to savour them :p
        A big hug to you too, it’s been a while since I was around here, I don’t have the time to do anythjng other than work so I don’t come here half as often as I’d like to.

      • Bastet

        16 December 2015 at 10:20

        Thank you too .. Wow .. no more until July! Well, make the very best of these then … and eventually you’ll probably find you find more time for blogging … enjoy what you’re doing Banzai!

      • Banzaï

        16 December 2015 at 10:27

        Thanks! Yes I really do enjoy what I’m doing, I’ve made great new friends and I find it fun! 😀

      • Bastet

        16 December 2015 at 10:42

        Hurrah … I really happy for you, it’s great to start out on a good foot in life.

      • Banzaï

        16 December 2015 at 10:44



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