Out for my daily walk though the park. Stopped by the post office. Got so excited when I saw they had Scooby Doo stamps that I bought a whole bunch before remembering I’m a grown woman now.
I hop back in the park, with my hand making sure my new Scooby stamps are safe and secure in my jean pocket. It’s so beautiful out. The trees are all yellow, orange, and purple. It had been raining earlier here in New York. The rain had since stopped but the air was so dewy this afternoon that after only a few minutes of being outside, my eyelashes were wet.
I tell myself, don’t you dare even glance at your phone for the next two hours while you’re out here in all this beauty.
I keep walking. Breathing. Enjoying.
For a moment, life seemed so tranquil and peaceful that I briefly forgot that 2020 has been such a shit storm. There in the park, life felt—perfect.
I keep walking.
It’s so pleasant and blissful out that today I don’t even mind the hills. I pass a cutie jogging by. When we make eye contact, I notice the wrinkles around his eyes, letting me know there’s a warm smile under his mask.
I keep walking. Thinking. Telling God how grateful I am. And then, I hear a scream.
I stop. I wait.
I hear a scream again…… OK…. are they kids playing? No…. that’s definitely someone older. Are they playing around?.... I wait.
More screaming. I can now identify it’s a grown man WAILING.
I walk a few steps. I stop. *thinking thinking* What do I do? Someone is in deep distress. He sounds like he’s being MURDERED. Am I in danger… if I leave, is that man about to die… if I go up there, what if the person inflicting the pain is still there? What am I gone do? Choke him with my stamps? Naw girl. Stay out of the way. Stay quiet. And call for help.
I call the cops.
Dispatcher: 911 What’s your emergency.
Me: someone is screaming bloody murder in the park. I can’t see him but he sounds like he is in a lot of pain.
Dispatcher: where are you.
Y’all. I was in the middle of a FOREST. Yes, that exists in New York City.
Me: North of The Cloisters. I’m in between a yellow tree and a green tree. *rolling eyes at myself. SALISHA NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE FUNNY.* Girl I don’t know! I’m in the middle of a forest.
Dispatcher: Got it. Help is on the way.
Meanwhile, while I was still on the phone with the police, a girl jogs by me. She hears the screaming. She goes, “Woah. What was that?!”
I give her the lowdown. She then proceeds to yell in the direction, HEY! Are you OKAY! HEY HEY!
I wanted to whisper, ‘Girl, you BOUT to get us both killed. Shut. UP.’ Clearly we were in a Halloween Horror movie. And we all know when something dumb happens, who’s the first to die? I digress.
She jogs away. I’m off the phone with the police now. But the way I’m walking, I would have to get closer to where the yelling is coming from in order to pass it. I proceed with caution……
I intersect with a boy coming from the direction of the screaming. I look at him like ‘what’s going on.’ He says, ‘The cops are coming. I’m meeting them on Broadway.’
I secretly wonder: is he a good guy? Or did he cause the pain.
When I turn and look behind him, there’s the man. SCREAMING. Looking me dead in the eyes. PLEADING for help. He’s COVERED in blood. If there wasn’t a man standing very close to him smoking a cigar, I’m not sure if I would have run to him. I have no idea. But I didn’t want to leave him.
The boy who had left to meet the cops said he got beat up. WHO beat him up? Was the bad guy still around?
I decided to NOT stick around. And I went and found cops that I knew were closer than on Broadway.
I found four cop cars. I flag them down. I’m flanked by police on all sides as they’re following me THROUGH THE WOODS. I’m telling them the whole story. They were such a captive audience, but anyway.
A few bystanders decide they want to follow too. *rolls eyes*
*lots of details*
LONG STORY SHORT, the guy covered in blood was whisked away in an ambulance. When I had parted ways with the police, this really hot guy (which reminded me of the guy in my most favorite book ever Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid) was like, “OMG Are you okay? I saw those cops around you and I wasn’t sure if you were alright!” And I said almost laughing, “But did you have my back?! Were you filming?! Did you get it on tape?!”
I told him that I was fine and what had happened. It was calming to debrief with this perfect stranger. Meanwhile, a cop car drove by and the boy who was on the phone with the cops was sitting in the backseat. No clue how that unfolded. He didn’t look upset though. He saw me through the window and gave me a head nod like he was okay. They may have just been giving him a ride.
Anyway. I’m safe. And I hope that man is going to be OK. And now that I’ve just finished writing this, I realized I left my Scooby stamps in my pocket. I would have been looking all over for those.