((An excerpt from a wip. I am one who struggles with anxiety, often pushing the panic button too quickly. This is an example of one such moment of abject cowardice))
…”Nine, nine, nine, what’s your emergency?” It was a man’s voice, thick North-Side accent. “I was sound asleep” I whispered urgently “and I heard my housemate scream, then it went quiet and I heard the door open and close.” There was a pause “Ok miss-us, did you go and check on her?” are you joking? “and risk being murdered too?” I raised my voice to a yelling-whisper. “I’m sorry, are you reportin’ a murder?” His tone had completely changed and I sensed I was finally getting somewhere. “No, but I just want someone else to…check.” Another endless pause “To be clear miss, is your housemate alive or dead?” “I don’t know, don’t you see that’s the problem! I’m locked in the bathroom.” “Who locked you in the bathroom?” he said hastily “I locked myself in the bathroom.” He grasped a sharp intake of breath, “So, this evening, you heard a loud scream and a closing door, after which you locked yourself in your bathroom, is that correct?” “Yes” I said firmly “So, you have not seen a dead body this evening?” “No”, I replied, “but I haven’t seen a live one either.” He told me he’d send someone, but I got the strong sense that he felt I was wasting police time. We’ll see, I thought as I stared at my toes against the ceramic shower floor.
This was not the first time I called the emergency services and it certainly wasn’t the first time they had insinuated I was playing it fast and loose with the term emergency. I had called the police at my previous dorm when a man knocked on my door and somehow knew my name. It turned out to be my R.A. coming to introduce himself, but how was I supposed to know that? The police had told me to open the door and see who it was. And get killed or kidnapped? I don’t think so. Was I embarrassed? Sure. Did I walk as quickly as possible to avoid my RA’s eye contact there after? Of course, but it’s better to live your life in unbearable humiliation and discomfort than run the risk. Anyway, could you imagine if he were a murderer and I didn’t call the police? How embarrassing would that be?
I was diligently playing Snake when the knock came. Before I could answer, I heard Dermot’s voice in the hall. I hadn’t realized he was home. Dermot’s voice came echoing, “Kiersen? Kiersen? Did you call the guards?” I squeaked my door open and poked out my head. Two men in uniform stood on the grey carpet between the red walls. “I may have done, yeah.” I looked around. “Why?” Dermot was tall, well put together and had a large glass of white wine which he swirled in the air to emphasize that I was a maniac. “Didn’t you hear Tara scream?” I demanded, I was not overreacting. “No, I just got home. But, she’s in the kitchen having tea.” …