Sharon had never needed to defend herself before. An impending figure rushed toward her, and she found herself in a circumstance that she had never imagined…
As usual everyone else on her shift that night had come up with an excuse to leave early, and she was left to lock up the café alone. She turned the lock on the glass door after the last group of customers left. Then she went quickly back to the kitchen to turn off the lights. She came back into the main dining area and reached for the light switch. She heard a faint shuffle just as she flipped the switch. She turned the lights back on immediately and turned to see a man standing at the far end of the room. There was an immediate, consuming fear like she had never before experienced. After the wave of fear, she thought briefly that maybe the man had forgotten something and had returned. Sharon had an excellent memory. She knew that she had locked the door, and that she had not seen this man with the last of the customers.
He stood there for several seconds without saying anything. His silence confirmed her fear that he was there to hurt her. She didn’t scream when he started to move toward her. It didn’t come instinctively, and she didn’t have time to think about it. He was within a few feet of her when she felt herself dropping to the floor. Time slowed for her, and a simple thought went through her mind,
“I don’t want to give up so easily.” She started to grab desperately for anything within reach. She felt the top of a chair and gripped it. With all of her strength, she tried to throw that chair through the air and crush the stranger, but all that she actually managed to do was to knock the chair over. The man reached for her, but did not account for the new obstacle of the chair. He stumbled. Sharon’s legs finally started to work again! She wanted to run, but had just started to move around the nearby table when the man reached and caught her.
He held Sharon’s arm at the elbow, and another flash of fear shot through her. She grabbed for the vase that sat in the middle of the table, but could not reach it. As the man pulled her back she caught hold of a piece of silverware from the nearest place setting. “Well, now it really is over”, she thought as she realized she was holding a spoon. She raised it in the air, and brought it down in desperation. It was a lurching, out of control stab. The bowl of the spoon hit the man in his open eye and he released his grip on Sharon’s arm. The man stood up straight. Then he yelled in pain. Sharon knew she should run, but instead she switched the spoon to her dominant hand and grabbed the bowl. She jumped forward and struck him again with the spoon. This time the handle of the spoon made its way into the same eye. The man dropped to the ground. Sharon ran. She called the police from a nearby store. She was sure that the man would get back to his feet and be gone by the time they got there. She was hysterical. The fear that she felt pass through her as an intense shock in the cafe, now came over her in intermittent waves. Four police officers arrived within minutes. When they entered the café with guns drawn, they found the man still writhing on the ground in pain.
Over the next few years, the sharper details of that event became dull memories for Sharon.