“One mocha cappuccino, please,” said Janey, feeling shy when the cashier asked what she would like. “And make it skim if that’s possible.”
“No problem, miss.” The cashier smiled before punching in her order. “That will be…” The cashier’s voice trailed off, inspecting Janey closely with a hint of shock on her expression. “You ok, miss? Because it looks like a bruise on your wrist.”
Janey paused from grabbing her money from her bag and glanced down at her wrist, her cheeks beginning to warm from embarrassment. She didn’t want to imagine a thousand eyes staring at her. Honestly, Janey doesn’t want to any attention, even though her red hair was slightly unkempt, and her white dress shirt untucked. But she tried to make a good impression that Janey was fine by wearing makeup to conceal her exhaustion and pain. All except for one that she missed, and it was the bruise on her wrist.
Janey did not want to reminisce.
“I just injured myself,” Janey lied while taking a couple of dollars. “I’ll be fine.”
The cashier nodded and told her her change before taking her money. After exchanging a couple of cents to Janey, the cashier assured her that her order would be ready in a minute or two. But Janey felt a little anxious now, wishing that the barista would give her her order quickly since she didn’t want to be out that long.
As the cashier promised, her cappuccino was ready, so she grabbed it and took a couple of packets of sugar before heading out of the coffee shop. It would be great to stay there and sit down, while Janey enjoys the scent of coffee brewing. But she couldn’t.
When she was a couple of steps farther away from the coffee shop, Janey was introduced by an old man’s grin. But she didn’t smile back, because she was too focused on going home. And then, fear tugged her when the old gentleman followed her. “My, my. Aren’t you gorgeous for a little lady like you.” Janey just rolled her eyes and kept on walking, not eyeing on the man. “Well, listen, I hope you’ll have a wonderful day. Hope I’ll see you around, again, because maybe I can give you a ride.” He lowered his voice and tried to go near her. “If you know what I mean.”
Feeling infuriated and violated, Janey reached for her purse, grabbed the bottle of mace, and sprayed the old man’s eyes. She briskly walked away, leaving the old gentleman to curse under his breath while being blinded by the burning liquid in his eyes. Janey didn’t care if that man appeared to be brittle and innocent; he could still talk whatever he pleases and get what he wants with no consent. Hopefully, a quick walk to home would ease her uneasiness.
Her heels clicked clacked as she walked through the other side of town that felt frightening. Janey would get used to it since it was the way to her home. But because her ex-boyfriend bruised her badly, Janey’s confidence has shattered.
As she passed every alley, Janey heard footsteps approaching. She could tell that they were not as light as her own. So Janey walked a little faster but, unfortunately, the steps she heard were picking up. Janey decided to break into a sprint, but a meaty, sweaty hand grabbed her wrist, before Janey’s body was pinned by something hefty. Janey screamed while the guy was struggling to pin her against the gray, bricked wall. “Let me go, you sick pervert!”
Her mouth was covered by the man’s free hand; Janey saw that the man was smirking at her. “Come on. Haven’t you heard of a little fun?”
Anger returned from earlier today, bubbling inside of Janey. She was tired of being played by men like the two she encountered. So without even thinking, Janey kicked the man in the stomach before splashing her cappuccino, giving him excruciating pain before she ran off. Janey ran as fast as she could to get away from the man that pinned her down. When she stopped running, Janey wasn’t sure where she was. All Janey knew was that she was not close to home.
She wasn’t ready to go home, anyway, now that her cappuccino was gone. However, the sight of a large park has Janey develop an idea for today. Taking a deep breath, she hugged herself as she headed toward the park. As Janey got closer, she spotted children playing in the distance. Janey smiled at them, roaming and being free. If only she would have one, but…
One day, Janey would be ready.
She sat on a bench that’s near the pond. Luscious flowers and shrubs have surrounded it. Glancing down at the clear pond, Janey could see her reflection. Janey appeared to be a mess, even though she did her best to appear well-dressed. But there was no mistaken that Janey could see a hint of tiredness in her dark, brown eyes. She hasn’t been sleeping since her fight with her ex, left her with bruises and scars she wanted to hide forever. Even though the man won’t harm her anymore, Janey still felt like a prey to anyone that would look at her with interest.
“May I sit here?” a male’s voice spooked her.
Janey contained the jolt that traveled up her spine. At least she managed to take a quick look. Just like Janey, the man was wearing a dress shirt and pants. He straightened his thick, black glasses as he smiled down at her. “I hope you don’t mind me,” he clarified.
The girl was shy, wanted to tell him “yes,” but Janey shook her head and gave him space by sliding down at the other side of the bench, hoping that the man won’t touch her. Though, the man appeared to be around her age. Maybe he was nice, but Janey couldn’t risk it. So she had her mace inside her purse, ready to spray, should there be any false move from him.
“I sure love coming here when I’m done with work,” he said all of a sudden. “Even if I don’t have a bad day, I still come here for peace and enjoyment before I go home.” The man turned to see Janey and offered an extra cup of coffee to her with his one hand, while he was holding his own on the other. “You want some vanilla coffee? Apparently, there was a two for one special, so I didn’t neglect the offer. I thought maybe I could have the extra for later, but since I’m here with you, I should be generous.”
Why couldn’t he just shut up? Janey thought miserably. Janey wanted to be alone, but her timidness got the best of her. The girl shook her head again, even though she’s thirsty for some espresso.
“Alright, miss.” The man smiled. “But I will save it for you, in case you want it.”
It was odd that this man she met was being generous. Janey never met a man that could act like that. But what if it’s a trick, just like how she had been played in the past?
“My name is Evan, by the way,” he stated. “Thought maybe I should start with formalities while I’m here.” He combed through his brown hair, even though it was neat and gelled back. “What about you, miss? Mind telling me your name?” When the girl shook her head once more, Evan’s grin didn’t falter. “That’s alright. You’ll have to excuse me. I love meeting new people and getting along with them.”
Too outgoing. Janey pursed her lips.
“Well, enough about me. What about you? How are you doing? Have you been here before?”
Janey was silent while still hugging herself, causing Evan to curl his lips into a frown. “I-is something wrong? I hope I didn’t mean anything to offend you or something.”
She didn’t want to let Evan see her weakness, but it was too late because her lips were trembling. So Evan extended his hand toward her, but Janey swiped it away and yelled, “Why can’t you leave me alone?! All of you!”
Quickly, Janey took off, but she didn’t go too far because of the log Janey stumbled upon. It was humiliating. Now she was sniveling like a little girl but not because she fell; Janey was afraid that everyone, including Evan, would see it.
To her surprise, Evan knelt down beside her, avoiding to touch Janey. “M-miss, I’m sorry if I upset you in some way.”
“It’s not you,” she admitted. Janey never wanted to talk about what happened until now; she was tired and needed to open up to someone. “It’s been rough for me since my ex-boyfriend left.” Janey gazed down on the bruise that was left untouched. And when she glanced up, she noticed that Evan was crestfallen because he realized now.
For a few moments, they were silent and remained in a kneeling position, until Evan stood up before helping Janey to stand. “I’m so sorry,” he spoke. “for what you have been through. It’s not easy for you.” Evan shook his head, feeling disdained. “I don’t think men like your ex doesn’t understand the terms ‘love’ or ‘respect’ mean.”
For a man like him, Janey was amazed that Evan understood how she felt. Better yet, he understood what a woman goes through. Even if he didn’t know what Janey had been through all day, there was an inkling that Evan understood. Could this all be true and real?
“I should probably get going.” Evan walked over to the bench to pick up his things before turning to Janey, extending the offered drink to her once more. “You sure you don’t want this?”
A warm smile bloomed on her lips. “Honestly, I do feel a little thirsty.”
Evan chuckled softly and gave his extra cup of espresso to Janey. Then, he grabbed something from the pocket of his shirt before giving it to her. “This is my card if you want to call, should there be any help. I receive calls for anyone who has suicidal thoughts. And if you want to have a get-together, my cell is in there.” When Janey felt uncertain, Evan continued. “It’s up to you, that is. I don’t want to push you. I just thought I could, not only provide assistance, but also make up for today. You take the call, not me.”
It was the first time that a man would give her a number. Usually, guys would ask for her phone number or push her to go on a date, and she would always object except for the time Janey met her ex. But now, she wouldn’t have to worry. “Th-thank you. I’ll think about it.”
“Ok.” He straightened his bag and pushed his glasses back. “Take care, miss.”
When Evan left, Janey clutched the card tightly, feeling warm and happy. For the first time, Janey truly felt like she was treated like a lady.
(This is for today's Summer Blog Event, hosted by Kay MacLeod. I'm grateful to be a part of this. I hope that you have all enjoyed this. I wanted to write this piece for a while and share it in a way to spread awareness. Please know that I do not think that all men are bad, if anyone is having doubts. I just wanted to clarify for all you readers out there. In the meantime, stay up-to-date, and do check out my other works so far, other than my blog. Other than that, have a wonderful Sunday)!
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