On My Bike #metoo

I am 12
I bike to the playground in Chomedey to watch the boys play baseball
I like one of the boys, he is short, freckled with red hair
Another boy comes to sit beside me in the stands
He is new, a visitor from Ontario
He tells me he likes to spit
I tell him that is gross
He tells me he wants to spit on me
I move quickly away from him towards my bike
He runs after me, telling me how he is going to spit all over me
I jump on my bike, pedalling fast to get home
He’s on his bike and rides even faster, spitting, but missing me
I turn corners too quickly, all along pleading for him to stop
He doesn’t stop
I recognize the man who lives next to my family
I am frantic, I scream, save me, save me
The boy stops, and turns his bike around and pedals away
I am crying, gasping for air
The man laughs and tells me that the boy just likes me

I am 20
I am on the streets of Ville St Laurent, almost home
It is late at night
I have only reflectors, no helmet, no lights, and no safety vest
A car rides up beside me
There are five boys in the car
They are drunk
They slur their words
Hey baby, slow down, we want to take you for a ride
My stomach knots up, I want to vomit
They keep up, taunting me, trapping me between the sidewalk and their car
I plan my next move, women always have to plan their next move
Suburban homes soon, make the right turn quickly, find a house with lights
They don’t anticipate the turn, and continue going straight
Next time, they laugh

I am 22
I am on St Catherine’s Street
Bending forward, concentrating
Locking my bike in front of La Baie
He grabs my buttocks and pushes himself against me
I feel him
I am in disbelief
I stand quickly, he lets go
Tears well in my eyes
He walks away looking at me, laughing, in his three piece business suit

 I am 25
I am on Jean Talon Street close to the market
A small uphill, I stand upright to pedal
He appears beside me
He slaps my ass and rides away in glee
I anger quickly
I swear
I chase
I tell him that I will get him
He pedals faster
He tells me I am crazy
I hate him
I see the police and cry out for them
They stop, I stop, and he cycles away
I tell my story
And now they laugh

-Rosemary Szabadka





Julia NusbaumComment