“Fear is the mind killer.” The woman who said that might have been a bitch, but she hadn’t been wrong! But I’d like to add that fear doesn’t just kill our mind, it also fills us up to the brim. Devoid of any other emotions, we tend to act in ways we normally wouldn’t. The story I have for you today will clarify my point:
My partner and I were sleeping deeply. We have both come from huge families that like to do everything together. Whether it is a funeral or a wedding, we love coming together, ribbing each other, and eating lots of delicious food. After we got married and got a place of our own, all that changed. It took some getting used to, but we have mostly adjusted to it now.
So, imagine that it is 4 am in the morning. Our doorbell rang once and then it went on squealing for quite a bit. As usual, I was the first one to wake up and I shook my husband’s arm until he was up too. Meanwhile, the doorbell kept on doing what’s it supposed to do. I sat in bed, staring after my husband blearily. He shuffled to the door and this is what I heard:
Strange Girl: Open the door. I need to use the loo.
SG: (repeats herself)
Husband: Wth? I am not opening the door. Please leave.
SG: (the same thing)
Husband: Please leave. Go ask the doorman downstairs about where the bathroom is. (closes the door)
SG: (shuffles off to our neighbors’ door)
Hubby came back into the room and we both looked at each other. Before we could even discuss the ridiculousness of the situation, we heard the girl ring the doorbell next door. Presumably, after a few moments’ delays, someone opened the door. The same conversation ensued with similar results. We sat in bed, listening to the girl perform the ritual with the occupants of the four other apartments on the floor. Of course, nobody let her in.
But she didn’t give up. Once she had run out of doors, she circled back to ours. Another string of doorbells broke our pondering of the surreal nature of the incident. My husband was about to get up again, but fear gripped me. I wouldn’t let him confront the mystery girl. When she got no response, she moved on to the next door.
This went on thrice or four more times, and I’m pretty sure by that time everyone on our floor was up. My husband had gone back to sleep of course. Then I heard one of my neighbors yell at the girl to leave. I winced at the outburst liberally laced with abusive language. But I realized he was just as scared as we were – or I was, given that my husband was snoring next to me.
I’m guessing after bucking up each other silently, some of the people from our floor rallied outside their homes. They bullied the girl into the elevator. She kept on repeating her mantra, but they were having none of it. She was walked out of the apartment complex forcibly. The door was firmly closed so she couldn’t come back. I was still up, frightened for the girl and myself in turns.
We found out later that the girl is often seen wandering the streets and lived nearby. She has some mental health issue and often steals out of her home. The doorman had forgotten to lock the door when he had come back after the Fajr prayers that day. That’s how she had gotten in and headed to the 4th floor. No clue why she had chosen us!
I peek outside to see if the hallway is clear off strange girls asking to use the john every morning before I leave for work. Imaginary scenarios of being trapped in an elevator with her play in my head nonstop. The funny thing is I never saw her so I wouldn’t recognize her until she relays her trademark request. Then I’d be seen running in the opposite direction.
But all this has me wondering, what was it that had us scared of an itty bitty girl? Should I have been less afraid and sorrier? Would I have behaved the way my neighbors had and manhandled that girl if I had been able to unfreeze my joints? I don’t know the answers, which is what scares even more!