How Not to Be a Hero
How I turned from a hero to an irrational and jealous unilingual.
Illustration by Naomi Elliott
I was on the phone with my mom. It was dark out, almost 10 p.m. I was sitting on the front steps of my building in Queens, thanking the gods that she couldn’t hear me smoking my third cigarette of the day. We were having one of our normal conversations: I was lamenting about an ill-configured moment in my day and she was comforting me, telling me not to worry myself about being socially awkward. Whether I really had been socially awkward or whether it was just in my head was also up for debate.
And then a man walked by dragging a woman by her shoulders. His right arm was around her, and the two struggled, both apparently drunk.
“Um, mom? I think something’s happening…a fight?” I said.
As I listened to my mother’s voice trail off nervously— (“Becca?…What’s happening? Becca?…Go inside!”)—I thought about the stats as I could see them:
One male, most likely a disgruntled lover, Hispanic, early twenties, medium build, around six feet tall, is now three buildings aw…
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