It was 65 degrees in April
Warm enough for bare arms, exposed shoulders.
I wear heavy snow pants, and a tank top to defend against the heat.
Goggles and helmet.
I feel your longing stare against my back, burning holes into my skull.
And as I turned to look at the perpetrator,
Why I am not surprised to see You, gray hair, smug smile, a MAN who thinks he’s all that staring back at me.
You returned my glance with a wink, and a smile that showed that you were well aware I had nowhere to run.
I’ve heard the stories, they all end the same way
Stay QUIET, head DOWN.
They can smell fear, they feed on it like predators
The kind of fear that quickens your breath, twists your stomach and tells you to run.
My vision clouded, bindings click, tighten I hear you do the same
You follow, lurking not far behind, waiting, watching.
In a frantic mad dash down the slope, I get sloppy, catching my front edge falling in slow motion.
I know I’ve given you the opportunity you were waiting for.
As fast as I try to get up, I’ve lost my chance, and the skidding of skis behind let’s me know I’ve run out of time.
You speak, your voice as sweet as honey dripping razor blades, and poison, raising the hair on my neck as you approach.
You are the hunter, and I am the prey, the prized catch.
I can’t hear a word you say, the panic rising in my throat blocks all sound. I am violently snapped back to reality, as your hand rests on my shoulder, the other on my waist.
You tell me I need to turn more, improve my technique, but we both know you do not care about the way I snowboard.
Silently watching as your eyes rake my body, fine combing
The words I know to say stuck in my throat I want to scream:
“GET YOUR F*****G HANDS OFF OF ME”
Instead I turn, a desperate attempt at escape
The air that felt so warm just moments ago is now frigid.
Your calls follow me down the mountain, my lack of response quickly whittling away at your patience.
You call out
“The weather is almost as pretty as you, HONEY”
“Show me a smile SWEETHEART”
“Acknowledge me B****H”
Stabbing words, arrows into the bullseye painted on my back
But the silence from those who are bearing witness is the loudest
Why is no one helping?
How can I be surrounded by people yet so alone?