“The new girl in town – Wo-oo,wo-oo,wo-oo,wo-oo” This hairspray song is not entirely the metaphor to this story, but the part about me being new in town is real.
This was my second week in Barcelona, I had rushed out of uni, to catch the train, I didn’t have my camera that day, so I had no valid reason to stick around town any longer. I made my way back home, hopped in the yellow line (L4) to Passeig De Gracia, I was 15 minutes early to my train’s arrival. I was listening to PARTYNEXTDOOR and navigating through Instagram or Snapchat either of the two.
I walked down the platform, found a space that wasn’t too crowded and stood there, I had my back turned to other passengers that were walking down the platform, which is why I didn’t see this creep, creep up on me.
I felt a tap on my shoulder, a fraction of a second later, there he was. A bearded Spaniard in his extremely late twenties or mid-thirties or forties, I couldn’t tell, he had one of those faces. He reeked of alcohol, to start off.
May I just say that the year of 2016 was full of life-threatening events, I survived two car accidents, an assault, my father’s death and repetitive verbal assaults from men, I have since developed a social anxiety which is quite ironic for someone who obtained a degree in journalism. I am wary of everyone in the streets, I get scared easily. I now cannot stand a random individual approaching me in the streets, it sends goosebumps down my spine.
This new handicap that I am now living with is not and easy thing to get accustomed to.
The Spaniard bearded man stood in front of me, I faintly heard him utter the words “excuse me”. so I unplugged one earphone to hear his plea. Then I heard “where are you from”
me: “I’m not from here sorry”
That’s all it took for him to disclose his whole life to me, his job, family, his belittlement of his race who don’t speak more than one language or seven languages like him. There was no way of escaping him, I tried. As I stepped backwards, he kept getting closer, while ignoring my body language that was clearly screaming at him to back-off.
The dance lasted about five minutes, I was scared and didn’t know how to get away, I shifted away as if performing renowned twist like Elvis Presley. A train stopped opposite our platform, and all eyes were on us, fascinated by failed escaped dance.Yet no one helped. (But what could anyone do really?)
I truly became suspicious of him, when he started fidgeting with his scarf, I have read so many stories of people getting stabbed and witness my friend’s dad getting stabbed live too, I no longer trust the human kind anymore, it’s sad but true.
I had to find a way to escape, I informed the man that I was now heading down the platform, assuming he would understand that I was trying to escape him. He, of course, didn’t and replied: “I’ll come with you lets go come on”. I stopped and pondered for seconds before stating that I needed to head to the bathroom first. Once again Mr know-it-all said ” but there are no bathrooms inside this
I stopped and pondered for seconds before stating that I needed to head to the bathroom first. Once again Mr know-it-all said ” but there are no bathrooms inside this station. so you can’t go”
Why was a random man telling me where I could and couldn’t go? I said it doesn’t matter, I’ll find a public toilet outside the station, by this time my train was three minutes away.
He insisted on coming with me, his tone had changed by this time, he was irritated and menacing. I was getting more nervous. His next threatening tone telling he was coming with me outside, and that I shouldn’t be alone, is what it took for me to leverage all sort of courage to tell him to wait.
I have no experience how to deal with this type of unstable person, but watching movies has thought me that you should always negotiate or at least pretend to do so, I told him dryly that I’d be back so he shouldn’t worry, that’s how I was able to go. I missed my train, but I never saw him again. I never arrive early for my train. I dislike waiting at that platform for the fear that I might one day run into him again.