When I was ten years old, I was idealistic and innocent, as one would expect a ten year old to be. My perception of the world was hugely sugar coated. The story I’m about to tell you is from a time far before I understood the intricacies of human behaviour and relationships. This was a time when the world as I saw it, was simple and clear cut. There were good people and there were bad people. Friends and enemies. Black and white. I made friends easily, and I didn’t care where I made them. One such friend, was the liftman in our building.
He was new and I was curious. I went up to him and asked him his name, he told me his and asked for mine. That’s how we became friends. At least that’s what I thought we were. He would be there when I got home from school and would ask me about my day on our way up to the eighth floor. I would give him elaborate answers, describing my teachers, my friends, unnecessary details that were of no consequence to him. He would pay attention, nod sagely when I told him about something I learned in school, shake his head when I spoke about a fight with a friend. This went on for months and everything was great. But then things started to get weird.
A few months into my new found “friendship”, the liftman started to stand uncomfortably close to me while we were on our way up. I was young, the lift wasn’t particularly large, I presumed space constraints were the reason behind this sudden proximity. But I grew silent. I would stand there either anxiously looking down at my feet or up at the screen where the transition of floor numbers suddenly seemed painfully slow.
A few days later, on my way back home, I ran into him downstairs. He accompanied me into the elevator and smiled widely. I pretended not to notice, and fidgeted with the zipper on my bag. Again, he inched closer to me as the elevator doors slowly closed. He began to rub the side of his thigh, but the fact that he was practically pressed against me meant that his hand was running up and down the side of my leg. I was confused and scared. So scared. It didn’t take a particularly long time to get to the eighth floor, probably just a minute or so. But I was terrified. I got out as fast as I could and furiously rang the doorbell. My mom and dad were at work, so our housekeeper answered the door. She saw how petrified I looked and asked me what happened. I told her.
Fifteen minutes later my parents were downstairs with the police. That was the first time I saw my dad throw a punch. Angry tears rolled down my mothers cheeks as she yelled at the man who dared to touch her daughter. I was called downstairs to tell the police what happened. The liftman was there, crying and pleading with them and my parents to let him go. Thats a lot to take in when you’re ten.
I couldn’t sleep for months after, I’d wonder where the liftman was, whether he was plotting his revenge. I still worry sometimes, even though it’s practically impossible for me to run into him now after all these years.
Iv discussed this with a few of my friends and I found that each of them had their own stories to tell.
Why is it that the world is such a hostile place when you’re a woman. Why do these terrible things happen. Why.