Leyla as always drives around in her car dropping people off. As usual she has a quiet evening, few people needing a ride....
Today she has already had a few customers for short rides, but better than nothing right?
She is happy with all the little money she makes. She can use anything.
By evening, it's suddenly suspiciously quiet. It's dark, barely any people on the street. Leyla drives around and looks around while. The streets suddenly have something peaceful and quiet about them. Leyla rarely feels this here in the city. Normally it is always busy and full of life, but tonight the silence is predominant.
Leyla enjoys it.
It's peace she hasn't had in so long, but one she's deserved for a while. She opens her car window slightly and enjoys the wind in her hair and face. If she wasn't driving the car she would have closed her eyes and thought everything and everyone away as if she didn't live on earth, but on some planet, her planet.
But unfortunately she is driving and driving with her eyes closed is not a smart plan.
In a flash she crashes into something and then she has nothing left at all.
Maybe even no life...
Therefore she keeps her eyes open looking into the dark of the world.
She feels her heart rustling, tears running down her face from the wind blowing in her eyes, her clothes flapping in the wind... free... she feels free.
She has not felt free for so long, safe....
She enjoys every second of it, because she knows how quickly it can pass in this world.
That safe feeling.
Leyla is still driving around alone after several hours. Meanwhile, the city is even darker and emptier. Her window is closed again, the fresh air became cold. The goosebumps that the cold caused are still on her skin. She pauses for a moment with her car, safely on the side. She rubs her arms where the hair is standing straight. She bends over backwards to take an extra sweater. Between all the blankets and pillows, she finds a sweater that she has probably worn several times this month, but she can't help herself.
There is no other way when you use your car as a home.
She puts on the sweater, which is better.
She wants to leave again when she suddenly sees movement in the street that was quiet before.
There is a woman walking alone with a backpack on her back. Leyla her eyes are focused on the woman walking in the dark with her head in the wind. It reminds her of herself. When the woman comes to a lighting pole the light shines on her body. It strikes Leyla how beautiful the woman is. Ice white skin and long wavy brown hair like she just stepped out of a Disney movie.
When Leyla notices her staring she averts her gaze and drives on. She opens her window again and with this sweater she can handle the fresh air.
When she stops at a traffic light she hears shouting. She pricks up her ears and looks back very quickly. She sees that the woman is no longer alone, but enjoying the company outside.
The light turns green, but Leyla turns around. She has to get to that woman. She doesn't trust it.
The wind rushing into Leyla's face and hair suddenly no longer feels like freedom. The quiet and dark streets have stopped feeling safe.
Everything suddenly feels only cold and dark.
It begins to feel even colder when she sees what is happening.
A man is standing near her, shouting things at her, trying to take off her coat. The woman pushes him away, but he continues and doesn't listen.
Men are pigs.
Leyla drops her car somewhere and runs out of the car without thinking towards the danger.
"Hey! She yells and crosses the street without looking. The man doesn't listen, touches the woman's chest.
'Dude let her go! screams Leyla again. She stands with her on the sidewalk. The man looks up, Leyla gets in between him and the woman. She looks at him angrily begins to push him. He hadn't seen that coming and looks at her, startled. Yet that startled face quickly changes back to a grin. "What are you going to do as a woman against a real man like me? He laughs.
'What am I going to do? 'Leyla takes a deep breath and gives him a slap right in the face. ' Go away man!' She slaps again and again. She's surprised that the man doesn't punch back. He's not as strong as he claims after all.
"Bitch!" He yells and gets the hell out of there.
How Leyla hated people like that.
'Everything okay?" she immediately turns to the woman who looks even more like a real Disney princess from a closer look. She tries to shake the thought away.
'Yes. I really didn't need any help though.' She turns her eyes.
Okay changed that Dinsey princess, but already into a Disney Villain.
'But, that man was touching your breasts.' Leyla stares at the woman. She notices that the woman still has scrubs on. She's probably some doctor in a hospital. Her gaze falls on the name tag dangling from the bottom of her shirt. "DR.Lauren Bloom emergency department."
'So what. Isn't your problem either? He was on my body not yours. I can handle a gore like that. She sounds arrogant and pedantic yet Leyla remains standing.
'Doctor Bloom that man could have really done something to you.' She says as she continues to stare at the name tag.
Lauren looks surprised at the woman who seems to notice all the details.
'You said it yourself I am a doctor. I work in an ED I'm used to a little more than this okay. So stop worrying and let me go home.' She sighs and pretends not to care but Leyla has noticed the trembling hands.
'You're hands are shaking.' She points to Lauren's hands.
'I'm cold that's all.' It seems like she wants to defend herself without actually needing to. A mechanism that has become ingrained to her while growing up.
'Of course! Leyla turns her eyes irritated. She sees that this woman is lying. She is a terrible liar. She can smell that from miles away.
'Well, I'm going home. Have a nice night.' Lauren wants to continue walking when she is stopped by the protective Leyla.
'You're going on alone?!" she frowns.
'Yes.' She swings her wavy hair back. It's an attempt to appear confident, but it doesn't work. Or not for Leyla, anyway.
'Let me take you home please.' She begs.
"Why? Laughs the doctor scornfully
'Because I won't let you walk in the dark.' She sounds determined. 'No way she's going to let Lauren continue walking alone.
'I'll call a cab then. ' Lauren wants to take her phone out of her backpack when Leyla starts talking again.
'I'm a driver.'
'Are you serious? Protesting sound.
'I can't get out of it now can I?' Lauren no longer sounds mean or anxious. It just seems like Leyla's presence reassures her.
A few minutes later, Lauren sits next to Leyla in the car. There is a soothing and safe silence. Security is back in place.
Both women offer each other that feeling as if they are passing on each other's feelings like it's magic.
It's exactly like a Disney movie.
"Where can I take you?" Leyla looks at Lauren still as concerned as before.
Lauren explains where she lives. Leyla is startled to hear the name of the building.
'You live in a fancy thing. You must have a rich husband.' She jokes.
'Well, that rich man was my father and he's dead so.' Lauren looks out the window and doesn't give Leyla a glance.
'Oh, sorry. I shouldn't have said that.' Leyla sighs with guilt.
'It's nothing.' She doesn't see Laurens' face, but senses a smile.
The rest of the ride remains silent.
No words and not even glances are exchanged.
'We're here.' Mutters Leyla after the ride. She wants so badly to talk to Lauren longer, to know that she really is okay. Yet Lauren only seems to give conflicting signals.
'I can see that.' A little chuckle is heard.
'How much do I owe you? Asks Lauren when she stops laughing. She reaches for her wallet.
'Nothing. I chose myself to drop you off here remember.' Refuses Leyla Lauren's money.
'Why? She doesn't seem to understand why this unknown woman suddenly cares so much about her.
'Because it didn't seem responsible to me to let you walk the streets alone anymore.' It's called responsibility.' She looks into Lauren's eyes so trying to see into her thoughts and feelings, but the ED doctor is so closed off.
All her thoughts and feelings seem to have been locked away for years are in a small black case that has had a thick layer of dust on it for years. More and more dust seems to be settling on it until the dust is unavoidable and breathing seems impossible.
'Okay, thanks, but know that I can really take care of myself.' Lauren gives a brief smile and gets out of the car.
Before she can even close the door Leyla gets out of her car as well.
'Is there anything else I can do?' She tries again. It sounds almost pleading.
'No, really no thanks.'
'I'll stay around here okay. If there's anything anyway.' She makes her way back to her car thinking that Lauren probably really doesn't need her help anymore.
But Leyla's first thoughts are right.
Lauren is not okay. She is far from okay. She feels scared and dirty. A man had just touched her and dared her to feel so unsafe. She had been happy that this brave woman just came to help her also she made it seem that it was not necessary.
She is so grateful to Leyla and feels bad that she had not been nicer.
Why does she always repel people who want to help her?
Lauren doesn't feel comfortable sitting alone in her apartment. In fact, she never feels comfortable alone, but now everything is so much worse. She still feels his hands, still smells his breath and still sees his face.she can't turn it off.
Shivers run down her body again. Leyla was right when she saw her trembling with fear. It wasn't from the cold at all, it was pure fear.
Also, she didn't want to admit it at first without Leyla this would have ended completely differently.
She wants so badly to shower to wash off the dirty unsafe feeling, but undressing feels anything but safe so here alone in an apartment.
She feels herself freeze and a tear rolls down her cheeks. She no longer feels safe in her apartment and it hurts.
She told Leyla that things like this happen more often in the ED and they do, but Doctor Bloom is so much better at handling all of these things. Lauren is, just a little scared girl who pretends to be tough, but she sure as hell isn't.
It's all fake.
She remains frozen there even when an unknown acquaintance suddenly appears in her house.
'Sorry to be back, but I'm really worried.The gentleman downstairs said which floor you lived on. You do need to remember to close your door especially after last night. Sorry if I'm inconvenient I'll go.' Gibberish Leyla babbles at a stretch, but then finds Lauren completely upset pinned to the floor.
'Lauren! She walks over to her and waves her arms past her face.
She seems to wake up from her freeze and collapses in tears.
'You were right. I am scared. I'm not tough.' She lets herself fall to the floor. She doesn't even question how Leyla got into her apartment.
Leyla also drops to the floor and looks at Lauren who is trying to avoid all eye contact.
'I'm a coward.' Lauren suddenly puts herself in such a vulnerable position. She is shocked at herself.
'You're not a coward Lauren! You're such a strong woman.' Leyla smiles.
' I don't even dare shower in my own home anymore. Everything suddenly feels so unsafe.' Lauren sobs.
'Hey, I'm here now. Go shower I'll barricade myself in front of the door so no intruder can come and bother you.' Suggests Leyla.
Lauren gives in. Not with words, but with a sad affirmative look aimed straight into Leyla's eyes to show how grateful she is.
A moment later, Leyla sits in front of Lauren's bathroom door. She reassures Lauren from the other side of the door. 'I'm with you nothing can happen.' It takes Lauren a while to work up the courage to undress and take a shower, but Leyla doesn't rush her and is patient. She stays put until she hears the faucet go off and dozens of minutes later hears a voice.
"Leyla." Lauren's voice already sounds a little fresher.
'Yes.' Leyla still sounds soft and concerned.
'Thank you. For everything and sorry for how mean I was at first.' Leyla hears how Lauren's voice gets warmer.
'Hey, it's really okay.' Leyla stands up as she hears the door swing open.
Lauren already has her pajamas on and comes running up to Leyla. Without thinking about it, she takes hold of her. Leyla is startled , but allows it. Laren needs this kind of security, this feeling and frankly so does she herself.
'No, really thank you.' Lauren lets go of Leyla again, embarrassed.
'You huh probably want to go home.' She runs her hands through her wet hair.
'I live in my car so no.' Laughs Leyla her problems away.
'Well you saved me so now I'm going to help you too, stay with me. I have an extra room.' Lauren smiles.
'Really? Leyla looks surprised never before had anyone done anything so sweet for her.
'Yes, You made sure I'm safe so I'm just now making sure the same for you. Besides I could use some company.' Lauren chuckled.
And she meant that sincerely.
Leyla too was completely overwhelmed with the joy of feeling safe.
No matter how disastrous this evening was for both women they found each other and that is the one thing they will remember.