Mark Novak

4 A.M.

It is 4 AM - 

I am doing dishes when I hear the screams outside my window.
A domestic disturbance that I figure will lose steam. It doesn't. 
It escalates in volume. It escalates in intensity. 

I grab the dish towel and dry my hands as I head toward the door. 
I discard it on the floor as I open the portal. 
I know I should have my phone with me. 
I know I should arm myself. 
I don't have time for any of that. 

Once outside I can hear the screams in the distance more clearly. 
I can gauge the direction from which they are coming from - 
I begin to swing my legs at full sprint toward the sound. 
The heels of my dress shoes sound on the asphalt street. 
Clack, Clack, Clack, Clack, Clack...... It is a surreal thing, 
To be hurtling yourself through the darkness, at full tilt like that, 
Having no idea what you are running into? 
But it doesn't matter. I need to be there. 
I need to be there now.

I come upon her. Dropped in a clump in the road. 
Her purse and its contents are strewn about the gutter. 
She sits up in my approach and I kneel down, -two feet from her. 
She is badly shaken, mascara and tears run down her face. 
She puts her fingers into her long blonde hair. 
She probably weighs about 100 pounds.

"Honey, what happened", I ask?
"He tried to rape me and rob me!", she screams. 
"God-Damn It!! That Fucker Took $190. From Me!! 
And my keys!! He Took My Car Key!!"
I put my hand on her back. A feeble attempt at comfort. 
"We're going to get you help", I say. 

As two other neighbors arrive I look at the tall one. 
"Call 911", I tell him.
He produces his cel phone and makes the call. 
I stay with her until the police arrive. 
I doubt that ever we will meet again. ....But I shall never forget her image, 
Seared within my head.

     Sept. 19th, 2015.  4 a.m.