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sesungguhnya realiti itu tidak indah;

Last Tuesday night, at 10:03 PM, I got into a car with a complete stranger.

The consequence of my action did not dawn upon me until the moment he looked at me and said; 

'I saw you eating alone at McDonald's for a while. Must be lonely right?' 

For four years I have lived in Japan, and never have the idea of doing things on my own came across to me as something sad or pathetic. In fact I believed it was a sign of independence and strength as a woman to not require company. The people there taught me the joy of solitude, no matter what it came to. From solo backpacking travels, to five hour shopping sprees, and of course the compulsory 'Me-Time' that is to be exercised over a cup of hot matcha in my favourite coffee shops. Occasionally there are the days where I would spend my nights by the sea, playing broken tunes to the moon from my ukulele till the wee hours of the morning, and even then I would not encounter even the slightest bit of disturbance from anyone. 

'Malaysia is not safe like Japan, you have to be more careful!'  

The words mama would often repeat to me before I ventured out anywhere on my own. I understood where she was coming from, but I refused to let this fear hold myself back from doing the things that I wanted to do. Yes, there were instances that I felt slightly uneasy on my walks and took extra precautions, but after six months I adjusted myself, and was finally comfortable enough to feel safe in my own country.

That changed, however. 

It was just like any other night. Then again, all these stories begin with nights like any other because we never anticipate it going any other way. I ordered my Spicy Chicken McDeluxe, chewed and swallowed it down before proceeding to spend the next forty minutes sketching an entry for the third day of inktober. 

'Of course he could see me.' I thought to myself, while fastening my pace. 'I was sitting right next to the glass wall facing the open street'  

We are often blindsided by our actions, and the whole severity of the situation will only slowly take shape after we take a step back and view it from an outside perspective. By then however, it is usually too late.

' AIYA! How can you be so stupid? Of course the murderer is in there! Why would you even go in?' 

Like the angry audience, watching the poor protagonist fall to his fate in a horror movie, I could feel that people would react the same way when reading of people's experiences, because it was common sense. Sure its easier that way, but we will never understand what drove the protagonist to do what they did, until we are put in that situation ourselves.

'Hey, let me give you a ride into campus' 

The white MyVi had slowed down by the side of the road, congesting traffic as he talked to me from inside the car. I waved a no, and continued walking, but he insisted again. The urge to ignore him was useless due to number of cars he had blocked on the road. They were honking angrily, and pressure started to build up as I realized that he was not going to move until I agreed. 

'It's just around the corner, come on. I'll drop you off'

Perhaps he was just a kind person.

Perhaps I was overreacting. 

Is there really no faith in humanity left that an act of kindness must always be reacted to with a sense of caution and underlying agenda? 

I comforted myself with the thought, but with each sentence he uttered I could hear siren, after siren, warning after warning blasting through my head at full volume telling me that I need to get out of the car. He claimed to be part of the university, but I could see that he was completely unfamiliar with the campus, asking me for directions. Not to mention how much older he looked. 

'Do you mind if we take a detour? I need to go to the bank for a while' 

For some people, that might have been the last words they hear before disappearing. For some it might have been the words by a sincere citizen that really just wanted to give you a lift, but needed some cash at 10 PM. 

For me, it were the words that knocked sense into my head. Declining the detour, I insisted that he stopped me immediately at the first hostel building we passed, telling myself that I would have to resort to jumping out of the car if he refused to let me off. 

There are many ways this story could have ended.
To think, that even a person such as myself, in different circumstances can easily break down to pressure and commit such a naive mistake, is a lesson that I think is worth sharing. 

Maybe I was just over thinking, and this whole incident was nothing but a mere mundane event that has been dramatized to no end. Either way, when your body goes into fight or flight mode, it's a sign worth listening to. 

At least I think so. 

Don't you? 

1 comment:

  1. Not overthinking. Even if he actually had the purest of intentions, it was wrong of him to put pressure on you in the first place, and to impose his own agenda when you were perfectly happy on your own. And when strangers make unwanted advances, we don't owe them our attention, time or presence - but social conditioning tells us to be nice and not make a fuss, even when it could put us in danger. I'm glad you're safe.


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1992; Part time writer, full time dreamer. A person who writes for comfort and is learning how to become a kungfu master

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