Slowly negotiating the darkness of an unlit corridor, I curse my landlord for not replacing the burnt-out light-bulb that once and barely lit the stairwell. Near my feet, something crawls, and my sense of safety dissipates too, the silence too much, like something cruel waiting patiently.
Alesha's story swiftly uncoils before my memory's eye. While riding a crowded train, she had been accosted by a man as fellow passengers looked away, out the window or at their shoes or into a crackling newspaper, pretending that it wasn't happening, because it wasn't happening to them.
Why didn't someone say something? One raised voice, she needed one raised voice, a gesture of protest by someone compelled enough to offer a talisman to allay her fear. Seemingly simple, right?
How lonely and helpless and enraged she must have felt at that moment! And how scared I am too, ascending the stairs with a curse for my landlord lying on my tongue. Yet, as each step creaks beneath my body's weight, I am unexpectedly grateful, for my neighbors' windows glow, surrounding me with something by which I could guide myself home.