It isn’t that I think the sky will fall. Or that I wouldn’t know what to do if it did. I am not afraid of anything, you should understand that. But I don’t know that I have ever felt safe. Safe seems like a promise someone broke, and the worst part is that you believed them. With promises, it’s only a betrayal if you believed them.
I don’t believe I’ll ever be safe.
Do you know how aware we have to be? Girls like me? The man ahead who slows down, who disappears into doorways. The man behind who walks too fast, his encroachment felt on your skin, creeping. Vans with dark windows and streets with alley ways. A park at dusk, or just emptier of people than you thought it would be, any old time of the day. The teacher whose hand lingers, or the group of boys with beer on their breath. The door closing and the room spinning. Do you know how aware we have to be?
(I suppose I let my guard down. At the end. When the sky actually did fall. The crack, and the flash of light, and the wet like rain drops. Air heavy like a boot on my chest. Dirt, and metal and being pushed down, down into the earth. It still surprised me. The shock of how little you can mean to another. How an entire world can be discarded for someone else’s storm. I was right not to believe I’d ever be safe.
But it still surprised me. At the end.)
~ Alice, What We Have Left