Scintilla Project Day 14: We exert control over ourselves and others in many ways. Talk about a time when you lost that control. This can go beyond the obvious emotional control into things like willpower, tidiness, self-discipline, physical prowess - any time that you felt your autonomy slipping away.
I sat on the hood of my car in the empty strip center parking lot, moping. Hoping my boyfriend would regret our fight and follow me out of the disco across the street.
A gangly teenage boy emerged from the shadows at the end of the strip center, headed my direction. I didn't feel a tingle down my neck. No sense of danger, whatsoever. I mean, he looked harmless. Pretty skinny. And deep in my heart I believed if I was nice to someone, they would be nice back.
I think he asked for a cigarette. Or maybe directions to somewhere. It doesn't really matter; I didn't have whatever he asked for, and time - or perhaps shock - has erased a lot of the details.
What I do remember is him telling me to give him the keys to my car, and me telling him no, and gripping them vise-like in my hand and jumping down, and wondering how he got behind me with one arm around my neck and the other trying to pry the keys out of my hand, and fighting him, and praying he couldn't peel my fingers off of them, and realizing he was a lot stronger than I would have thought with those skinny arms of his, and being surprised I couldn't break the hold he had on me, and
screaming, screaming, screaming...
And then he let go. I watched him run into a field beside the parking lot that bordered a neighborhood and fade into the darkness. Whether it was my screaming or my guardian angel or something else that made him run, I'll never know.
I had the club doorman find my boyfriend. Concern replaced the irritation on his face when he heard what happened. He made a cursory search of the field, then told me to go home.
That night I discovered there were limits to the power of 'nice', limits to my physical strength, limits to my boyfriend's concern for me. There were shadows in the kodachrome world of my childhood.
But I also discovered there was no limit to the strength inside me that refused to give in or give up or let go, whether it's my life on the line, as I'm sure it was that night, or my family, my future, my dreams...