Defend or Run Away from Fear

me

The pickup truck was filled with “good ole boys,” five deep. As soon as I made eye contact with one, one yelled out: “You going to school boy?” At this point fear started to sink in. Unlike all of the other days that I’d walked to class, I was totally alone.

During the Spring Term of 2003 I stayed off-campus with one of my best friends in an apartment complex not far from the Middle Tennessee State University campus. Being from Memphis, one would assume that Tennessee would be about the same throughout the state; sadly, from my experience, this was not the case. Some days I would walk to class, other days I would get dropped off (I didn’t have a car at the time, but I had an apartment!).  Walking to class was really never an issue because people were always walking back and forth to class – the walk was a straight shot to the MTSU Campus.

One Tuesday afternoon, I was walking to my Spanish class and out of the blue a 1994 F-150 slowly pulls up next to me. No biggie. At the time a lot of people would slow down to ask if I needed a ride to campus. But this time was different. The pickup truck was filled with “good ole boys,” five deep. As soon as I made eye contact with one, one yelled out: “You going to school boy?” At this point fear started to sink in. Unlike all of the other days that I’d walked to class, I was totally alone. Not one person was outside on their front porch, and no one drove past us; just me and five devils!

As scared as I was, it didn’t affect my perception of space and time. What seemed like minutes happened in seconds. I began to hear the others in the truck calling me out of my name. I started calculating the distance from where I was in relation to my apartment and campus. Would you believe I was at a halfway point?!!! I turned back, then looked forward and something inside of me said: “F–k it! The first one that hops out of that truck, I’m killing them!” Once I made that mental decision, I kid you not, the air changed around me and I no longer showed any fear of losing my life.

The guys in the truck felt me as well. They immediately stopped laughing and became as quiet as church mice. I suppose they thought I was going to be an easy target, though how a 6’4” 300 pound black kid could be an easy mark is beyond me.

The driver sped off and from that moment on I realized two things about myself. One, if you put me in a situation where I have to defend myself, I will defend myself. Two, I have no issues with taking protection to an extreme level if need be. Perhaps I should have added in my grandfather is a funeral home director and I practically grew up around dead people. Lol, perhaps that’s for another story.

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