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HARASSMENT

11 January 2006

Have I got a shocking experience to relate to you.

It happened last Monday. My girlfriend Mon was here in Tiel and we had had a very nice weekend with lots of movies and gaming and fun. Simply a good time. Then on Monday we went to a supermarket just outside the inner city. There it began. A guy shoved me from behind. Nothing serious, but a deliberate shoulder-shove nonetheless. I turned around to look at the obvious hoodlums and then went back to looking at the package of discount baking powder. I took a mental note in my head to avoid these people.

I collected Mon from inside the store and went to the line-up of counters where, unfortunately, next to us, the culprits were with all their visibly distasteful frolicking around and messing with xerox machines. I silently informed Mon that I'd rather stay a while here to see them leave. Pretending to talk a bit, I saw that they were looking at me and wouldn't leave either. I got that sinking feeling as my stomach turned into a ball, but decided to exit nonetheless.

As we walked outside, my worst suspicions came true as I heard footsteps behind us and all of a sudden, outside the public eye, I got shoved again by their typically ugly leader. I ignored it and watched them go before us. I stared in the void. Then he turned around and began the stereotypical monologue: what are you looking at? What are you looking at? What he was really saying was: [i]You've got funny glasses, I'm having a horrible life because I'm butt-ugly, my parents rightfully loathe me even though they're assholes themselves and now I want to pick a fight and you look like easy prey.[/i]

I tried to walk further but they were blocking us now. Still uttering their inflammatory mock-excuses to start pummelling me, he pushed me. I grabbed his sleeve but didn't hold on because I'm not a fighter; thuggish street life isn't my thing at all. He then hit me on the side of my head. It didn't hurt; it was more of a shove than a hit, but there you have it. Then he asked me if I wanted to fight.

The thing that scared me most was the fact that he wasn't enjoying it. Strange though it may sound; I'm familiar with people picking on me because they need a shot in the arm. They need to feel good at my expense. I understand that motivation even though I'll never empathise with it. Not so with this creature. His own trauma's were running like scars over his face. He was pudgy, but not the good kind. His face was a mess of acne and red patches. His own grievances were there for all to see. It wasn't a mystery why this guy acted like he did.

And yet it frightened me, because his eyes were devoid of anything but sheer hatred. There was no joy in what he did. No passion for his actions. He didn't like it. There was only blind aggression, a complete loathing for all life. Utterly terrifying. I saw a soul that was totally wasted; the compassion long since beaten out of it; a miserable existence that could never repair itself. And I was frightened of it. Mercy would be wiping this beast off the face of the Earth. It cannot be saved and its only business here in this life still is to inflict pain and misery upon others. What can man do against such blind hatred?

Regardless, it asked me if I wanted to fight. I don't really know why, but I didn't immediately turn away. Rather, Mon then pulled me along and took me across the street. Not running, but walking. They didn't come after us. They went into the city, so we took a long scenic route home, where upon entering my room, I began trembling and could only be glad she was there to comfort me.

I've since become more at ease again. I'm still a bit afraid to go out, fearing to have become a permanent target or even seeing it again. But I understood rather quickly that I wouldn't let this affect my life too much. Being surrounded by people I trust and love, I was supported from many sides including many people I know only from the internet. Having such a community of friends made me realise they could never take from me what is most important.

But, hell, a frightening experience it was! One I hope to avoid in the future!

Roderick.