Now, the terribly terrible part of the weekend. Saturday night, after all day Quidditching, Sweetheart and I went to the Bronx for his Mami's birthday. We headed home late, taking a cab from the Bronx to 125th on the east side. There, we can catch the M60 bus right over the Triborough Bridge (literally, one stop) and be home. If the cab crosses the bridge, they charge you the toll there and back, and more just to be dicks, making your cab ride jump from $20 something to $40-$50 something. So, the bus is the best option. We are poor.
We were at the bus stop around 2 or 3 in the morning. Sure, it's late. And sure, it's Spanish Harlem... but it's not bad. And the stop is in front of a super well lit 24 hour grocery. And lots of traffic and people. And we have done it many times.
We were in the middle of the block. To our right was an empty corner. To the left was a busy intersection where all the cabs were turning.
Since it was late, the bus wasn't running as frequently. This was terrible. We were exhausted and cold. Then lots of sirens started happening. Police cars were rushing around, but we couldn't see where. I started to feel funny, but just chalked it up to exhaustion.
Then people started gathering at the empty end of the block. I assumed it was an evacuation from a fire. You know, sirens and a sudden mob of people. I almost walked down there to see if it was a fire. I figured it would make me feel better if I confirmed the sirens purpose.
Next, some teenage girls across the street were acting weird. These teen boys right across from us (who I had given the judgemental stink eye because I assumed they were hoodlums) were telling them to 'go' and 'get out of here' and the girls were resisting and rushing to go at the same time. Weird.
We decided we couldn't wait any longer and we should just walk up to the busy intersection to get a cab. Just as we started walking, pops started happening. I thought it was a car backfiring, but it kept happening. 'Oh, this is what gunshots sound like!' I suppose I had only ever heard them from afar during hunting season in North Carolina. It sounds different. Once this clicked in my head, I made the fight or flight decision to run behind the grocery store. A large scary man stopped me an said, 'They are shooting over here. Get in my van.'
The kids across the street (that's right, the hoodlums) were shooting into the crowd of people down the block. The crowd I almost walked into. Right by where we were standing 10 seconds before.
Suddenly my brain had a chance to rationalize the situation. I looked up and saw people running into the traffic of the busy intersection. I froze when I realized my options were to Frogger through traffic, run towards the gunshots, or get into a large scary strangers rape murder van. I stood there and turned in circles for at least forever (probably a few seconds). Finally, Sweetheart pulled me to the van and told me to get in.
Sweetheart later told me he had recognized the man. He always parks there to give people a ride home once they have their groceries. I did not know this. Stranger danger.
I told the man to take us home. I didn't care the cost. We crossed the bridge and got out right off the exit. As I still wasn't sure if he was going to kill us or not, as soon as I got one foot on the ground I had a full out panic attack.
Sweetheart, from the Bronx, tried to tell me it wasn't a big deal and we were safe and he wouldn't let anything happen to me. I gently wailed that I was not ok with that happening, I do not want it to be normal to me, and I will need grabbed and thrown to safety should it ever happen again.
I still feel very weird about the whole ordeal. I mean, really? A gun fight? Fuck NO!
We are safe. We will not be going to that bus stop for a little while. Because it's terrifying.
And my street cred has shot (errr... uhm. yeah.) though the roof. Gangsta, and whatnot.