There are eyes on me everywhere I roam.

I feel a presence that grows more noticeable every passing day. My future is tainted by your troubled past. The present is complicated. I sit and wait until they arrive. Maybe they'll pull a chair out in front of me. A bullet might slice through my temple, or the back of my head. For now, I'm on standby.

I find a dull stupor in almost everything that's deemed great. I always look outside of myself, shorthanded. I'm not yearning for death, but I don't think I've found anything to live for. Now I'm being targeted and it feels like something I was yearning for. I don't say anything about it. I don't tell anybody about it. It serves my sole purpose. I can help somebody...I can lend my safety for appreciation. It's skewed.

I understand my motives — the need to be needed. I'd agree my thoughts are shrewd, but when I look at you, I feel weightless—almost innocent.

People who have been through things have this facade about them. A sort of wiseness envelopes them and makes their words sit at the back of your head. What they say is important; how they move is apparent. They're an enigma and everyone wants to solve the unknown.

I tell myself I'm okay with staying in the dark. If I have a price on my head just by association, it must be a complicated history. Complication never leads to understanding. Everyone who caught a glimpse of my ugly bits went astray. Teaching people how to treat me wasn't my strong suit when I envied venerability. My wisdom was my soundboard on how to be treated. I found that there's no need for people to know that your laughter masks something darker. As long as I can stand happily and independently before people, my unknown will attract many. Abandonment gave me that clarity.

People say we're alike. But it's our history that holds resemblance. We're alike in the way we protect our image from associating with the person we used to be.

Today, I'm redeeming myself of my unknown.

I sit alone on the train back from work. Eyes linger on me every few minutes. They stare, then trail elsewhere. I stretch, yawn, fiddle with my fingers—every slight movement draws their attention. I'm surprised by how deliriously thrilling real-life suspense is. I'm not on the edge of my seat. The urge to withstand my mundane fear is stronger than the urge to run.

Today, I want to see how far it can go.

I let the train go as far as it can go. City lights dim as we get further away. Population thins—the darkness of the outskirts appeals to none, except me. We ride from packed corners of city into spacious suburbs. I wonder if the trees conceal things that an alleyway cannot.

I wonder how many steps I have to take to find out.

My palms begin to sweat. The emptier the train gets, the easier it is to hear my pulse. I study the old hunchback with a grey beard who stares out the window keenly…a tired mother who shoulders a little girl's resting figure in her arms. Their heads shake in tandem to the rough motions of the train. My neck remains stiff, unmoving. I'm on guard. I wait patiently for my chance.

When feet begin to shuffle behind me, I realize. This is it. An opportunity. If I hover close enough behind them, I might catch a glimpse. A glimpse is all I need.

I rise from my seat. My feet move awkwardly and my chest feels more constricted as the intensity brews. My body isn't in sync with my mind.

I guess I could give in—pretend to get off and scurry back in through another door. I could end this chase with a move devoid of any of my real intentions. But my curiosity will never suffice, and my plan won't see the light of day. If I continue letting fear trample my adrenaline, I'm as good as dead.

There will be no second thoughts.

I draw myself behind the couple approaching the wide doors, tightening my hand onto the pole next to me. The motions of the train escalate. I hold on, watching heads bob to the frequency.

All except for one.

His head is turned away, but I don't have to look twice. Only his shoulders sway. His head remains stoic—almost poised. His face hides under wrinkled surgical mask, eyes shadowed by a drawn hood.

The train doors open quickly. I shiver but proceed to walk out, languid.

I should take my time. There's too much time to act hurried or panicked. If he's tailing behind me, there's no time to process any feelings I might have. Like him, I have one motive, and I can't lose sight of it.

I begin to scurry down the stairs quicker.

I don't have to check to see if he's lost sight of me because the hairs at the back of my neck arise. Each step becomes more daunting. It's all wishful thinking.

I'm guarded by CCTV and lighting. When that ends, I'm bound by nothing.

I dig into my pocket and thumb your switchblade, thinking about the sight of blood. I'm the type who can't stand to get blood drawn, but why am I envisioning otherwise? I said I wouldn't hold it—not because I shouldn't, but because I couldn't. I've been learning to adapt to reality a little differently. I now realize it has nothing to do with courage and everything to do with survival.

These steps take me further from my chance of survival. The last step feels finite, like a threshold I wasn't supposed to cross.

My cellphone vibrates just as I reach the bottom.

Pulling it out and seeing your name makes the doubt begin to creep in even harder. I turn it off and stow it away, nestling it in the inner-pocket of my jacket. I dismiss any thoughts of you and dispose of my guilt because there is no time.

I gather my resolve, steering myself out of the station.

The air in here is sticky with a scent, an uncanny one, reminding of me of an old lotion I used to use. I then thumb the blade in my pocket. I'm reminded by all the shit the past has planted, and there's nothing but resentment. Next to that resentment there's nothing but myself.

When I break through the door, the air hits me all at once. Fate catches up to me, adrenaline surges through me. I feel footsteps pad behind me.

I slowly slide the switchblade from my pocket to my inner-sleeve.

My hands remain moist but fingers don't quiver. I drag onwards, feeling minuscule next to the looming figures of passing buildings. The air is rough on the flatter side of land. It tickles my scalp and sends wisps of hair across my vision. The moon is nearly full, but clouds keep enclosing it.

Darkness submerges me, vacant streets surround me. Two sounds accompany me.

His footsteps.

My erratic heartbeat.