Back then, it was a day like every other. I had gotten off from work and headed home in my then boyfriend’s beatdown car-thing. I was tired, it was my third job and I had trained all day. I remember the smell of the old house that we lived in, masked by the smell of men and ramen noodles. My ex-boyfriend and I were perched on the front steps of the house. He was drunk off of cheap rum and coke and whatever beer was given to him, as usual. Every night the loud train that passed the house would stop and halt for the night, sometimes half, sometimes for a few hours but never less than that. There were multiple occasions between the beer bottle slinging and dancing in the street that my ex would climb up on top of it. Only getting down if I begged him to, usually with the help of our mutual friend calling out to him as well.
This night was different, not in the way that we had been arguing, which nearly always came when the alcohol hit his bloodstream, but because I had finally and completely given him what he wanted. I was always really weak, with my jobs that required a certain promiscuous outfit and the men that surrounded me cat-calling and inappropriately touching. I was weak with my relationships by always knowing that they had been having relations with others, though making up excuses or pretending like it wasn’t happening because, well, I don’t know…
This time, out of the hundreds of times he had asked, the hundreds of times he coerced.
I finally said yes.
As soon as we both climbed on top of the train I instantly regretted it. In previous posts, I’ve mentioned how truly small you feel when you are up that high – and that’s exactly how I felt, impeccably small. A couple of days prior I had gone through an extremely hard and gut-wrenching panic attack that led me to physically manipulating and harming my own body. I had struggled with self-harm for nearly a decade – at that time and was in a really fragile state of mind. But when the train jolted to a rolling start I had woken up from my ever-looming existential crisis and somehow knew that this was it for me. I was so scared that my body was violently shaken with fear. He was the first to climb down the ladder and jump to safety. I was barefoot and for some reason hopping off of a moving train barefoot was something I second-guessed. I could see him with his back to me wandering down the road towards the house. Then it jolted again to fasten its pace – and I tripped.
I had fallen a certain way and was able to hold my upper body up with my left arm by holding onto something that hung under the train. After a couple of blocks it miraculously stopped. Why – is something I will never know, but I am blessed that it did, because I’m positive I would not be here today if it hadn’t.
I was pulled from under the train by my hero and roommate at the time, Benjamin, with the help of a courageous and kind woman named Angela who lived across the street. They had heard my screams of agony and didn’t miss a beat when saving my life. Angela’s voice still lingers in my mind from time to time. I can still feel her soft hand caress my sweating, bloody, and tearful face as I screamed for God to make the pain stop. I dream of her voice reassuring me that I would be okay, that everything would be okay, and that the ambulance was on its way.
And she was right, they came. It was almost as if life was in fast-forward, reverse, and pause all at one moment of time. I pleaded for them to help me and they did. I begged for them to tell my mom that I was sorry.
I somehow just knew I was going to die but I didn’t want to. I wanted to live, even without legs and I knew this the very instant I was saved out from under that train.
I don’t remember much after, but I will always cherish those who helped me. I will take Benjamin and Angela with me in my heart every day. Every day that I look at my beautiful baby girl I will have them to give my utmost gratitude and love to. For they are the reason I’m still alive.