People who know me well (which is probably you, since no one except my mum reads this blog - hi mum!) will tell you that I'm no str...

A Brief Descent into Madness

   People who know me well (which is probably you, since no one except my mum reads this blog - hi mum!) will tell you that I'm no stranger to moments of anxiety or paranoia (or, according to this test, narcissism; it claims that while I'm not a psychopath - phew - there is a "strong indication that [I] have a narcissistic personality disorder... but I reckon it's just jealous of my boombasticity). Most of the time these surface as harmless, barely noticeable blips in concentration, fleeting seconds of worry that any man on the street experiences every now and then. But once in a blue moon, something bubbles up inside me. Something big.
   I want to describe one such situation to you now.
   Waiting for my bus home the other day, I noticed a woman at the bus stop who looked like she was dressed in a jumper that appeared just a couple of sizes too big for her. Not that this seemed too unusual to me - I wear clothes that are too big all the time - but it must have flagged in my mind for whatever reason, and just for a split second, because it was pushed right to the back the very next moment.
   When we got on the bus, I shot her a smile as she passed me to take the seat directly behind mine. Nothing creepy, like; just a smile like you give strangers on the daily. She sat down, the bus started to crawl toward home, and everyone was happy (or at least, as happy as one can be after a long day at work and a slow journey home).
   After less than a minute on the bus, I heard the tinkling of metal on metal. A light swish-swish-clink, as quiet as a kitten. I'd heard the sound a million times before, more than I could ever count; I knew straight away that it was the sound of knitting. The lady behind me was knitting something. Big whoop, right?
   But wait. What if the knitting was just a ploy? Knitting needles, although blunt at the end, are still sharp enough to pierce skin if they make a forceful enough impact. What if she was knitting to bide her time, until the right time came to stab me in the neck?
   Fuck. I'd heard stories about this before. Madmen or madwomen on buses, chopping off the heads of the people in the row in front, and waving them around like an Olympic medal. And now, I was the target of one such madwoman. Waiting until the bus was empty enough to grab her chance and stab me twenty-three times in the neck with a knitting needle.
   I had to protect my neck. I started to hold my hand over it, pretending to scratch it so that I wouldn't look strange, so she had nowhere to poke her weapons. I moved my head around more than usual, hoping that it would be impossible for her to hit a moving target. My heart rate increased, as I desperately tried to devise a plan that would get me out of harm's way before I ended up as this woman's first victim.
   But I couldn't. I couldn't run off at the next stop, because it wasn't my stop, and just going downstairs and standing there instead is the kind of thing crazy people do. I didn't want to appear crazy, even if it meant dying.
   So I stayed there. I stayed in my seat upstairs and protected my neck. It wasn't a perfect plan, but it was the only plan I had. But then, a horrible thought struck me: what if she wasn't after my neck? What if she wanted to poke them into my skull? Or worse, straight into my ears? One of those things prodded directly in my ear, and I was a goner for sure.
   There was no way I could protect myself from that. I could shield my neck or move my head as much as I wanted, but if she wanted to get me, she was going to get me. There was always a way.
   I spent the last few moments of my life trying to keep my head moving and force my body language to show that I wasn't afraid of her. But I was. I consoled myself with the fact that although I was definitely going to die, the other people on the bus would stop her from exiting, and she'd pay for her crimes. The bus wasn't emptying as she'd planned, so she'd have to do it in front of a bus full of people. I would be avenged. But it didn't reassure me.
   The seconds dragged on, as I awaited my fate. Every metre we traveled was a step closer to my death.
   Then she got up. She stood behind me, ready to strike. My heart was pounding in my chest as hard as I've ever felt it. Here it was: my last breath. I was about to be exterminated by a knitting needle in the ear, and I hadn't even told my loved ones what they meant to me. It was all over, and my murderer towering over me wouldn't allow me any mercy before she dealt the blow.
   But she didn't murder me. She got off the bus, and went home. And one stop later, so did I.

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