Dear Chicago,

I love the attention you are giving me – to a point.

On the El ride in from the airport I got flirted with, that was sweet and nice. I have been complimented by strangers on my hair, my boots, my skirts, my lipstick color, my glasses, my sweater and generally seem to have made a good impression on you all around.

Then there was last night – or rather early this morning, I’d say around 1:30 is when this began. I transferred from the red line to the blue line in order to save 2 blocks of walking. At the time I was unaware that this was a bad idea and that the blue line can be a little shady. As I was waiting for the train to appear, playing Words With Friends, a man approached me and was very suddenly in my personal space. I took a startled step back and looked up.

He breathed alcohol all over me as he slurred out compliments and his unrequested and undesired digits. I explained to him my sincerest lack of interest and thanked him for the compliments. The train arrived and he waited for me to choose my car then got on the same. The train was delayed so I went to the next door got of the car and onto the adjacent car. 2 minutes later he followed me. I immediately got off the train and went from the frontmost car to the rear-most car. This time he didn’t follow me and the train left after another four minutes.

The next stop was mine. I got off and looked behind me and there was no one there. I got on the escalator to go up and looked behind me again and there was the same guy taking long strides while pulling his hoodie up.

Panicked, I ran up the escalator, through the turnstiles, up the stairs, onto the sidewalk and the quick right turn onto the street I am staying. I kept running at full pace. A white Ford F150 going in the opposite direction started honking its horn and the guys inside started lasciviously catcalling, “keep running girrrrl, that’s so hot, mmm nice tattoo.” My heart was now in my throat and my lungs were burning as if I’d smoked 7 packs of cigarettes before all out sprinting.

Right ahead of me on the sidewalk were two young men – maybe in their 20’s. I ran past them and almost froze with exhaustion and panic when I heard one of them start to speak, “Hey, are you okay?” I slowed down and said, “Yah, I’m just scared.” and when I looked behind them I saw no one following. “Thanks for asking.” I started walking (at a fast pace) and got the last block out before heading into the secured building where I am staying. In truth though, it wasn’t until I was in the apartment with the door locked behind me before I calmed down.

I eased my asthma attack with some albuterol. Reconsidered the previously planned morning run on behalf of my lungs and in respect of it being 2AM. Snuggled into the cozy comforter and regretted the early evening Starbucks run for another 2 hours while watching Netflix.

Hey, Chicago, I really like you, but could you be slightly less rape-y?




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