Mugged! a moment in time from 2009

Friday night in the district, pre-Christmas, 2009
I am walking home from the 7-11, carrying the sugar and butter I picked up for my housemates Doug and Eric. It’s around 8 pm, and I’m thinking that my father should be arriving soon from South Carolina. I am worrying about a snow storm prediction for the weekend; it is supposed to be the biggest one DC has seen in 20 years. I walk up the stairs to the front door to my house, and I am wondering who else is home. Since I live with nine other people, you never know.

Keys in my hand, I reach for the door, when a thick body grabs me tightly from behind, and I think it might be my housemate Kingsley joking around because, like Kingsley, this person is strong and black.  But then I feel a jagged object at my throat, and I know this is not Kingsley.

“Give me your money” he demands as his hands smother my mouth and nose.

The split second before he first spoke is a combination of two realizations: this is not a joke, and right now I am not in control of my body. When I hear it is just money he wants, I am slightly relieved, mumbling with my stifled mouth that my wallet is in my bag on the ground. He loosens his grasp on me, so I can reach down to find my wallet and throw it on the porch beside me.

I start crying uncontrollably as I realize it is almost over. Thirty seconds to one minute maximum, my body feels its containment, and my mind watches this happen to myself like a bystander might on the corner intersection.

“Don’t cry! Don’t cry! Please don’t cry!” he begs of me, no longer sounding as gruff as when he demanded money.

The uncomfortableness in his voice tells me he is human.  Deep down, I know, he doesn’t like that he is doing this to me.

He releases me briskly, reaches for my wallet demanding “Don’t turn around!”

I sink to me knees sobbing on my porch and listening to his footsteps pound down the stairs and into the night. I bang on the door hysterically, and Kingsley lets me in.

“What’s wrong?” he asks alarmed.


He hugs me hard while I cry in the foyer.

Doug hurries down the stairs and sees me in hysterics, and I rush to him sputtering about what has happened.

“Sweetie I am soooo sorry,” he says, while Kingsley is calling the cops.

I am a puddle on the floor gasping for breath and sobbing.

Within 10 minutes cops swarm the stairwell, people are asking me questions, I am getting over my shock while still shaking a little bit. There are red scratches on my neck from the knife, (if that’s what it was) but I’m not crying anymore.

The neighbours Adam and Chad arrive and give me hugs. Adam pours me rum and coke which I can’t drink, and my friends Cristina and Andrea show up with cookies and chocolate which I cannot eat.

Snow starts to fall outside. The detective interviews me, while Cristina and Andrea agree to find my father. He is cold and alarmed and waiting at the Takoma Park Metro Stop, wondering why I haven’t returned his calls

post snow, looking out from the foyer onto the porch