I was tired and sweaty; my face was bright red. Having worked a very busy service I was just ready to get home and shower. As I approached the T station I saw a couple who appeared to be arguing. As I passed them I heard the girl say, "If you continue this there's going to be a scene."
Now, this made me stop in my tracks, literally. I turned around and looked at them, sort of hovering in the shadows-I was actually trying to get her attention by staring at her. His back was to me, so I thought maybe she could give me a sign if she knew I was watching. Well, she wouldn't look over. Just as I was beginning to give up and walk away, he put his hand on her back and sort of shoved her forward. It was clear she didn't want to go where he was trying to make her go.
Mind you, this was on a busy sidewalk in a pretty nice section of town. There were people all around and there was even a police officer on the corner. But the manner in which he was speaking to her just really struck a chord with me and I felt like I needed to stand by in case she needed help.
When I saw him try to shove her along, I decided to swallow whatever social barriers I thought I should obey and walk up to them. As I approached the girl looked at me and the man turned around. I looked only at her and asking if she was OK.
She was obviously taken aback. He said, "She's fine. We're having a private conversation here." I said, "That's great. Are you going to be OK?" again to the girl. She said yes again so there was nothing more I could do. I told her that there was a police officer on the corner if she needed him, to which the man said, "They're everywhere-GOD!"
I've always been they type of person who tries to help people, even if I don't know them. But this was a little bit weird for me-in public to approach a fighting couple to make sure that the woman was OK. I guess that what really made me stop was remembering how disappointed I was in people when they didn't ask my why my forehead was cut and why the white of my eye was completely red or why I couldn't really use my left arm (even though I'm left handed) for about a week.
I remember back to when my family asked me if I was OK and I wasn't, but I couldn't tell them. I was ashamed of what was happening and for some odd reason, afraid that they would think poorly of me for "letting" it happen. What finally got me out of the abusive situation was when my gynecologist asked me a routine question-"Do you feel safe at home?"
I hesitated and my voice started to shake as it does when I am about to cry. And I answered, "No". It was the first time I admitted to another person that I was not OK, and that I was afraid. And it was easier to tell a stranger because if they passed any judgement, I wouldn't have to live with seeing their faces all of the time.
So, I thought maybe it was the same for this girl. I felt kind of silly after I walked away, but not silly enough to regret asking the question. It's quite possible that this was a simple argument between a boyfriend and girlfriend-but if it wasn't, and she needed someones hand to pull her away, I was going to make damn sure she had one to hold.
I never really minded being a silly girl anyway...