The Weight of Fear
The concrete rushed up at me, blurred in the speed I traveled to it. I felt the grit and heft against my arms and chin, which took the brunt of the force. The slow spread of warmth and tingling pulsed at each area that struck and I was reminded of a long ago bicycle accident. Except this was not an accident. My jaw had jammed shut at the moment of impact and I felt a faraway ringing my ears. I was stupefied.
I blinked, trying to understand what had just happened to put me face-down on the pavement. I felt my purse being pulled away from my body. The strap jerked down my arm clumsily and I let it, without resistance. I thought foggily about the strategy of playing dead during a bear attack. I heard muted and dreamlike voices lilting up and down in tone, talking not to me, but to each other as if they weren't standing over a complete stranger.
Their banter reminded me of men talking at a poker game.
I tried to process what that meant to me, but my thoughts wouldn't calculate. I whimpered without intending to as rough hands felt down my body, in my pants pockets, my jacket, as they took the cheap bracelet I'd had since school, and wiggled the wedding ring from my finger. The banter continued and I listened to it without hearing, heavy as a stone.
I could feel my heart beating like a metronome in every part of me.
When my hair was pushed to the side of my head, my breathing stopped. The hands searched my neck and I tucked in my lips to keep noise from escaping as bits of my hair caught and pulled. The hands were warm.
I shivered anyway.
The hands finally felt the chain of my necklace and I felt it tighten. I tried not to react as my head was lifted by the chain. The twist became uncomfortable and then released me when the chain was broken from around my neck. I closed my eyes and waited. They stood over me, suddenly silent.
I tried not to tremble.
I listened to them turn and walk away, their light conversation peppering their steps.
Me, laying face-down on cold pavement. Unharmed and ruined.
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I have lost the infamous purselet this week and I am being dramatic about how I feel about it.
You heard me. I had every other important piece of paper, card, receipt and a lipstick I will never find again...and a Starbucks gift card.
Thank God I wasn't mugged, but I still feel like it. Where are you, purselet?