Yesterday, I accompanied my mom to her haircut appointment. I sat in the lobby, while she was in the back for an hour or so. There were very few people, including myself, around the lobby of the salon. People kept coming in and out for appointments. A young man then walked in. As every other person who walked in, I kind of watched him. This man walked in quietly, stood in the middle of the lobby and looked incredibly nervous. I couldn’t help but wonder what he was doing here (obviously not for an appointment) and why he looked so nervous and concerned. Then, he reached down into his pocket and put his hands on, what I noticed, was a gun. He looked around as if he was looking for cameras, or for some sort of signal, to do whatever he wanted to do. I was sitting maybe six feet away from him, and I remember thinking “this man has a gun, and he is going to shoot it any second”. Within about 30 seconds, I found myself sweating, my heart beating excessively and feeling like I could puke. I can’t describe the terror I felt. I felt like I was the only person who noticed him, as the receptionist seemed preoccupied with other customers. I feared for my mom, in the back of the salon. For every customer. I couldn’t get around the man, though, to tell someone. I guess my instinct kicked in, as I can barely remember my next moves. I felt my fear was visible to the man. He kept looking around and at me, still with his hands on the gun as if in any second, he would release it from his pocket.
I stood up, and walked out the door. I don’t really know why. On the streets, I was pacing in nervousness. I didn’t know whether to call the police, my dad, tell someone etc. Part of me doubted my instinct and I told myself I was just being paranoid. “Was I the only one who noticed the man with the gun?” I asked myself. I walked to the end of the street, about ready to pass out. I was scared that something horrible was about to happen, and I couldn’t get my myself to do anything about it except panic and pace frantically. I can’t remember exactly where I walked, but it wasn’t far from the place as about a minute later, I turned around, and the man was outside the salon, watched me from afar, and then walked the other direction to meet another man. They walked away. I walked back into the salon and it seemed perfectly calm. Confused and still in shock, I walked to the back and sat with my mom. She asked what I was up to. “Not much,” I said. For the next 15 minutes I scanned through the events in my head. I wondered whether I had just been paranoid. I felt embarrassed, if that was the case. I felt angry. Angry, at the fact that, whether it was a gun or not, I had to experience that fear of the possibility of the man having a gun, and using it. I decided I wasn’t going to say a word. I doubted my instinct and felt almost ridiculous that I responded so dramatically. When we headed back to the reception, however, there was a policeman. The workers seemed distraught and upset, much like I felt. The receptionist eyed me, presumably sensed my fear, and asked “Did you see him too?”. For some reason, after about 5 minutes of contemplation, the man did not act out. He turned around, walked out the salon and walked away. We were escorted out to our car, and drove home.
It’s been a day, and I still feel the fear I felt in the moment I noticed the gun, every time I close my eyes. In that moment, I thought I was going to be shot. I thought my mom was in danger. And I am struggling to describe the impact that has had on me, in just the short period of time since it happened. I feel scared. Sad. Angry. Sympathetic. Thankful. Scared, because an experience like that is no longer something that I’ve seen on the news, or crime shows, but something that, unfortunately, can actually happen to any innocent person. Angry, at the fact that I even had to experience the fear of a civilian carrying a gun, and feeling threatened by it. Sympathetic, because my experience was such a minor one, compared to those of individuals who have to experience anything worse. I feel so upset for people who have to go through any sort of traumatic experience at all. It is a feeling a would not wish upon anyone and I hate the fact that this fear is something some people have to live with or experience because of the environment they live in, or because of the hate of certain individuals surrounding them. It put so much into perspective. Lastly, I feel so thankful. Thankful, that nothing more severe happened. Thankful, that up until yesterday, I had never had to experience something like that. Thankful, that I grow up in an environment where I am generally very protected. Thankful, that something in that man’s head told him to walk away.