DECEMBER 18th 2010
Sleepovers are fun. But having to get your friends home from your house is always a bit of a pain. I was with my Korean friend, Ye Eun, at the mall. Istanbul is a city of 17 million people so there are loads of ways to get around but it’s still not the safest place on the earth. Turkish guys believe that they can stare at girls and creep them out to their hearts’ content, and being a foreigner just makes you stand out even more to guys. I was used to having to get around the city on my own so I had taught myself how to keep the guys away and I wasn’t scared at all of going on public transportation. My friend, Ye Eun on the other hand was the complete opposite. She never traveled around on her own and didn’t want to go on the bus by herself. I didn’t know what to do. I lived almost an hour away from her and didn’t want to have to make the trip back and forth.
I wasn’t sure what to do; who to call. There was really only one person who lived close to Ye Eun and I was afraid of calling him. Jeremy and I had become closer lately but I didn’t know if he would exactly enjoy the damsel-in-distress act. But he did live ten minutes away from Ye Eun and it would be easy for him to get her home even if it would take a while for him to get here.
“Hey, Jeremy. What you up to?” I asked in the cutest and most innocent voice I could muster. Jeremy recognized the voice and caught on immediately.
“What do you want, Carolyn?” He called me by my full name. That scared me.
“Well, Ye Eun is sort of stuck over here by my house and is too scared to get home on her home,” Ye Eun frowned at me. She didn’t like sounding weak. But I didn’t stop rambling; I needed Jeremy to do this for me. “So I was wondering if you could be the coolest guy I know and come over here and bring her home and have I ever told you that you have insane good looks?”
He arrived in about thirty minutes, which amazed me. I had never arrived been able to get here that fast before. I let out a deep sigh when I saw him walking towards us in the mall. I had started to become a bit scared that I’d have to take Ye Eun home and I was already so exhausted from the previous night’s sleepover.
But no one could leave immediately. Jeremy, being a guy, was extremely hungry and refused to leave before he was fed. So Ye Eun and I found a table in the food court and Jeremy headed over to Burger King with that handy little debit card his parents had given him (the Bradleys were a bit well off). I stretched out my legs on the chair next to mine. All I wanted to do was to be asleep in my bed and that’s what I planned on doing as soon as I got home. I shut my eyes allowing the tiredness to flow over me just a bit.
Ye Eun leaned over and touched my arm. I refused to open my eyes. I didn’t feel like entertaining anyone. I just wanted to sleep.
“Carrie, those guys haven’t stopped staring at us since we sat down here.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I said, my eyes still shut.
“But, Carrie…they’re talking about us.” I raised my eyelids slowly and looked over at them. I had noticed them when we walked in but hadn’t thought much of it. They all looked about nineteen years old; too old to bother us. But Ye Eun was right, they were staring at us and smiling and I could hear them talking quietly about us.
“We’ll be fine,” I assured Ye Eun. “Don’t worry about it.”
I didn’t close my eyes again. I didn’t feel all that tired anymore. I tried not to look over at them, that would only egg them on. I glanced over at Burger King. I couldn’t see Jeremy through the crowds of people.
I heard Ye Eun jump slightly in her seat and my eyes darted straight back over to the guys; one of them was getting up and heading straight towards our table. I snapped my legs off the seat and looked down at the table, pretending to play with something on my bag. Ye Eun followed my lead and tried to sit extremely still.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the other guys encouraging the one who had stood up. He was standing about ten feet away from our table with a wicked grin strewn across his face. He took a step forward and my hand flashed towards my pocket. My phone came out immediately and I was already calling Jeremy.
“Jeremy. There’s a guy. Please-” I gasped as the phone hung up. The guy was at our table by now. He leaned in towards me, his smoky breath flowing over me. I winced. His mouth opened to speak but before anything came out, a hand flashed and grabbed his arm.
Jeremy was standing there, looking taller than ever and protectiveness that I had never seen so strongly before was glinting in his eyes. His voice was calm but firm; he would get his way. He was talking in Turkish so quickly that I could hardly keep up. All I could work out was “Excuse me, do you even know them?”, “Why don’t you just go and sit back down with your friends. Eat your food”, and “Don’t ever bother us again.”
The guy backed off and muttered apologies. Jeremy turned towards us and I could still see the anger in his eyes.
“I think we should just go. I’m not that hungry anymore.” Ye Eun and I didn’t argue. We grabbed our stuff and quickly walked to catch up with him. I walked by Jeremy and every now and then glanced over at him. The anger was fading slowly from his eyes. I put my hand on his shoulder.
“Thank you. You were…great.” He looked at me and nodded in appreciation. The anger had left and been replaced with a tenderness. Unexpectedly-but extremely naturally at the same time- he stretched his arm out over my shoulder and squeezed me to his side.
“No one messes with my friends.” I stared up at him and could feel the admiration for him building up inside of me. Even in seventh grade, I had had good taste in guys.
“I felt so safe after you got there…I feel so safe.” I whispered so just he could hear. He didn’t look at me but I could just feel him beaming.
I was safe when I was with him. He was silly and goofy and liked to joke around and liked it when most things were light-hearted and fun but it was still true. And I was really realizing it; I was safe when I was with him.