The smell of vulnerability

I was visiting a friend in Chicago last July, but while he was at work I decided to explore the city. I was sitting on a bench in Chinatown, reading a paper, when this old man comes up to me. I move my things so he can sit. I was 20 at the time. I have dark brown skin, dark curly hair, and was wearing an orange tank, brown flip-flops, and baggy khakis slightly above the knee.

He starts talking to me, and even though I felt something strange, I ignored it. After all, you’re supposed to be respectful of elders, right? He keeps chatting, and I nod and answer his questions and keep trying to read my paper. He asks if I live here. He puts his arm around me. I freeze. And now I know something’s wrong. He asks me how tall I am and I tell him, then he says “I don’t believe you stand up.” So I do, and he stands up and hugs me. He tries to kiss me but I turn my head so it lands on my cheek, and then he presses himself against me and I can feel him. His hands slide down my waist to my ass and I try to push him away, but my brain’s gone all fuzzy and he won’t let go and I’m frozen. I look around to see if anyone’s coming to help- it’s the middle of the day, and there are people all around me. But no one seems to know what’s going on. He’s laughing and I finally manage to get him off me, but not before his fingers brush my breast and I grab his hand and turn it into a handshake. He acts like nothing happened, laughs again, and asks if we met again would I say hello to him. I just want him to go away, so I sit down and stare at the ground and nod. He says “I’m leaving now. I’ll be at so-and-so place, then I’ll head home. It’s going to rain soon. You should go inside.” Then he leaves, looking behind him and waiting like he expects me to follow. As soon as he turns the corner it pours. I call my friend and insist he comes to get me, but he can’t get to me for another hour, so I am forced to wait in the train station, sobbing, while four other random men corner me and attempt to get my number. Apparently creeps can smell vulnerability.

Submitted by Miga

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