Safe Space

I did the right thing.

 

It became clear that no one else shared my concern.

There was a gun

In my dorm

Somewhere behind a closed door

On the second floor

A trigger waited.

What if he became angry?

What if the hallways beckoned him?

Or the stairwell or the dining hall.

 

I could be there.

My friends could be there

We could be there,

And then he could be there,

And then we could be gone.

 

The absent guilt of the others only added to mine.

I had to say something.

I stood in front of the door for six minutes,

I knocked.

I gave what little I knew.

 

The cops were confused.

“Are you sure?” They asked

“No”

I had only heard because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time

I have a bad habit of doing that.

 

I gave them what I had.

They needed more.

But by chance or the cruel hand of the universe

the student

The accused

Was on his way out

There was no more time to investigate

They chased him down

Pulled him aside.

Don’t see me, oh god please don’t see me

 

The light was turned off

I sat against the wall,

my knees tucked close to my body

Just like we had practiced in school

My hands shook,

My cheeks were wet with tears

The silence rang in my ears.

 

The voices, the cops

And the student.

The gun was in his backpack

Two of them

Two weapons that could easily find their way

Through the thin door that separated us

To me, the snitch.

I squeezed my eyes shut.

Nothing ever feels real until it is real

 

The student

The gunman

Was taken away and I was free to go

They told me I was courageous

But now I check behind the shower curtain before I close the door

And my hands tremble when I turn the corner on the second floor

 

I did the right thing

I did the right thing

I did the right thing.

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