Today, I know the fear, the terror that every daring, adventurous, life-risking, masked superhero feels: the fear and dread of a close loved one coming to know their true identity.
They don’t want their folks worrying about them, fearing, every minute they’re out, for their lives or worse, banning them from ever picking up their colourful costumes and putting on their capes again.
I just had that dreaded feeling today.
I was late, and running down the road.
(The says that I ain’t late are the exceptional ones.)
Seven in the morning, and it’s dead quiet, the only sound being my running feet.
And then (shudders), these dogs, three stray dogs hear me running and begin wondering what’s up. These are gods I see everyday, in only thinking of how late I must be, and I accelerate.
But these dogs’ attention I’ve really captured by now, and they’re fucking excited.
They begin barking all at once and start running towards me.
I can’t outrun three dogs!!
What’s worse, they’re in my path, ahead of me!
Oh shit, oh shit!
And I’m thinking.
Dogs can sense fear, I’m thinking.
It’s all I can think, and my eyes are wide, I’m paler than a clean new white sheet now.
The dogs are literally at my leg now, a step’s separation, and there’s a car behind me. I’m trapped, I’m done for, I’m thinking.
I can suddenly hear everything around me clearer than ever before. Every sense is awake, but I have no place to run!
At a super-climax moment like this, with those damned dogs going around me curiously and howling together, all I can manage to do is yell once, Whoa!
Damn, have Hollywood movies got horror reactions wrong.
(I think a scream would’ve aggrieved my situation, no less.)
And then, a person washing his car nearby began shouting out at the dogs, and in five shouts, I think he’d managed to scatter them.
I don’t know, actually.
I think I should’ve stayed and thanked him for, I don’t know, saving me from a potential wince and ouch?
Hearing his shouts and seeing the dogs momentarily distracted, my knees recovered. I just saw my chance, and ran.
(Soft footed, as walk-like as I could, this time.
At the end of our whole fiasco, I was a further ten minutes late.)
Coincidentally, before leaving, my mum had said, “Walk, don’t run, even if you’re fifteen minutes late, watch the road before you cross it.”
Boy, she had no idea, I thought to myself.
And I won’t ever let her; I trembled at my own stupidity. How could I have forgotten? Dog psychology! You run, they run. Despite the fact that I had done this before.
When I returned home, my mum was at the door.
I had conveniently forgotten the whole ordeal.
“I stood in the balcony and saw those dogs come at you. I yelled out, I think the man heard me and began shouting.”
Spider-Man’s fears were never more real.
I still feel awfully guilty about it.
I also realise that it’s really one thing to experience it, and a whole different level of things to watch it happen to someone you care about.
And that’s why I feel so terrible, so guilty…