My parents, probably the most relaxed, caring, loving people in the world always had one rule. One very specific rule that looking back on it, i probably shouldn’t have disregarded. It was simply telling them where i was, and if it was late that i arrived safely. My teen years were full of parties and gatherings, friends houses and adventures, and still my parents just wanted to know where i was. As a 16, 17 year old i found that to be a complete and absolute invasion of privacy, how the hell was i supposed to be independent if they knew where i was, what i was doing and who i was with?
But then, i moved out. Not just out into a different part of the community, but out as in to a different country. I started working nights, walking home at midnight or later, i’d catch a bus so i wouldn’t have to walk as far alone but in the dark, it’s still far enough. Every night i would text my mum or dad that i got home safe. I live in a house with 7 other people but most of them are asleep when i get home and at work during the day, so we could go 3 maybe 4 days without seeing each other. If something we’re to go wrong at night, they might not realise straight away.
So now, living in London where everyone and their dogs take public transport, instead of goodnights i always say “Get home safe, Alright?” Because if i don’t tell them i care that they’re home and safe, who will? I text my friends that I’m home after we went to dinner or a concert or just a night out, i send them my Uber ETA, and i expect the same from them. If I don’t look out for them, and they don’t me, who will? Maybe it’s not a revolutionary thing, a protest or uprising but it’s something that shows you care, about yourself and about others.
My parents told me to buy a mace, I thought that it was irrational and unneeded. So walking home i carry my keys in my hands, not even as a protective measure but as a reminder that i’m almost home. Sometimes i’ll stop or step further away from the street when someone drives by. I don’t fear the darkness or the night, i don’t live in a dangerous (maybe shady but definitely not dangerous) area, and i certainly don’t feel unsafe. But i do worry on the off chance that i’m not prepared that something may happen, if i’m too drunk to notice or too tired to listen carefully.
We shouldn’t have to be afraid of the night or what it holds because when you stop, it’s one of the most beautiful times around. But, we are. We try and we try to change it, but the best thing we can do whilst assaults and murders still prevail is show each other that we care.
So tonight or on the weekend when you leave your friends, make sure you tell them to get home safe, alright?