I was two drinks deep, just lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. It had been raining all week, so I didn’t need to turn on the fan. I left the windows open, and all I could feel was the fresh cool breeze brushing against my skin while the subtle pounding of the rain hitting the zinc roof on the shed was like a non-injected sedative.
When I first heard your voice, I thought I was dreaming. I was saying to myself, maybe my rum and coke had more rum than coke. But it wasn’t until my brother belted down the hallway, knocking on my door asking me, “did you hear that!? With my eyes barely open, I responded, “No, heard what?” He said, “a woman just screamed ‘don’t shoot, don’t shoot!’”
I instantly rose from my bed and ran to my parents’ room to meet my father peering through the windows in deep concentration. Slightly pushing the curtains aside as not to be seen, he said Uncle Kirk down the street texted saying he heard someone say, “don’t shoot!” By this time, I was hiding behind the curtains as well, shielding myself from discovering a possible gruesome murder and from the glaring blue police lights that battered every house, causing more onlookers to peep through their windows.
The police officers and Uncle Kirk weathered the rain, walking up the street from Cowper Avenue’s end to the opposite end. Protected under their umbrellas, they were trying to investigate the mysterious call for help. Pushing my face to fit in-between the grill on the windows and ears wide open, trying to listen to make out the words coming from their mouths, unfortunately, I couldn’t hear a thing. The rain was drowning out any noise being carried through the air. Quickly, my brother unlocked my dad’s phone he left to charge to see if anyone sent messages in the WhatsApp group for our street, but there was no update. Radio silent.
I wondered if you, the mystery woman was okay. But I also wondered, was it a real scream to stop what would have been your untimely death or a jokingly erotic encounter gone too far? I wondered, who could have been the one you were yelling at? Could it be your lover, ex-lover perhaps, or could it be a stalker or a thief trying to rob you? It made me contemplate what if I was in your shoes. Would I be too hell-bent on fear to even react? Would I be dead before the words “don’t shoot” even mutter out of my mouth?
Since the attempted robbery at my house 2 years ago, every household on my street was equipped with a bullhorn. When blown, a signal alerts everyone that something bad was happening and to call the police immediately. But this time, there was no horn. Why was that? Were you not able to get to it? Were you arguing with your possible attacker in the driveway? Or were you not even a resident and on the empty road behind the complex so no one thought to even look there?
One by one, the lights in every front room window turned on. As I hid my face from the lights coming in, I wondered, were people naturally concerned or were they just nosey neighbors looking for excitement. But, if I was questioning that about them, then which one was I? Because I hopped out of bed to get involved but involved in a way that I didn’t even help find you.
What if it was me? Wouldn’t I want someone to come to my rescue? Wouldn’t my parents want someone to hear my screams and call the police to search for me as Uncle Kirk did? But, without searching every single house, how were we to find you? Your voice got lost between the houses in the complex, like a ghost, your apparition was seen and then suddenly disappeared. We no longer heard any screams; all we heard was the rain and the police car’s ongoing engine.
As minutes passed you see neighbors start to open their doors to look. Men and women, even their children, dressed in their nightgowns to see what was happening, but not interested enough to step off their porch to get wet by the rain. But, as time faded and the rain pelted harder, everyone retreated into their homes. As the police car drove further and further up the street and Uncle Kirk and the other policeman became more and more out of sight, I had slowly walked back to my room, wondering, if you are still alive or would I find your picture all over the 7 o’clock news tomorrow night? Who were you? I was a concerned by stander, but I was too intrigued by the commotion to join Uncle Kirk and the police in their search of you. I guess I am a part of the neighborhood nosey club.