I was sixteen years old and had just climbed the steps out of the 86th Street subway station in NYC, where I lived. It was late and I was on my way home. The streets were still pretty crowded, and I noticed a young man with unruly hair practicing karate kicks. The second he spotted me, he stopped and began following me up the avenue.
I started walking faster and so did he. I was almost running by the time I entered my building with this young man pursuing me through the lobby. I made it to the elevator bank and the man stood off to the side, yet close to me. Other building residents were waiting as well so I felt somewhat reassured, though still uneasy.
The elevator arrived and I got on with a few otherElevator manufactures people. Karate man got on as well. I didn't want to press the button for my floor because I lived on the next to last one and feared I'd end up being alone with him. The other people pressed buttons for lower floors and I stalled. So did karate man. I waited for him to press a button, but he just stood there stiffly, staring at me with half-crazed eyes… waiting.
The elevator doors were about to close and I bolted. From my peripheral vision, I could see his eyes widen, along with everyone else's, since they probably thought I was insane. Relief flooded me as I watched the doors close behind karate man.
Every once in a while I remember that incident and wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed on that elevator— and then I shudder.