December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.
It was a moment of discovery, challenge, fear for myself, fear for others, and success all at once.
I described it earlier in a succint form.
It was the Journey to the End of the Night. We (the group of people we were with) were on a bus heading west on Haight. The bus itself was a safe zone—chasers couldn’t tag us the runners. However, they were egging us on and watching our every move. In a lame attempt to throw them off our trail, I said that we would get off soon, thinking that we would get off in 10 blocks. At the last minute right at Central and Haight, Chris whispered, “We are getting off here.”
Unfortunately, it was one block away from the safe zone.
Chris and Jeff ran storming off the bus. I was confused and hesitated at the front bus door, surely confusing everyone else behind me. That hesitation was what saved me. Standing in the doorway, I could hear silence and see only darkness. It was perfect weather for San Francisco. Not too hot, not too cold. No rain…and the air drifted with only a slight menace on the day before Halloween.
As I stepped off the bus…in those few seconds, I heard screams of glee that could only be from chasers. We were in attack. And then I heard it…screams of terror or perhaps disappointment from a chaser who had been tagged.
Running down Central from Haight to Page was more dark that I had anticipated. The dim street lights were insignificant, barely lighting the street and definitely not the sidewalks.
My adrenaline quickly built up and I knew…I just knew that I probably couldn’t do the sprint. I immediately moved left, lowering myself to the ground smelling the dusty concrete—a smell so like the city of San Francisco. A parked car shielded me from view from those in the middle of the street.
I saw Jeff—in his bright red getup—get tagged. My black costume as a ninja saved me, blending into the darkness. In between the cracks of parked cars, I could see that the chasers were celebrating. They were dancing, almost as if around a prize. A chaser girl was bragging as she took Jeff’s ribbon. “A trophy!” she exclaimed to a fellow chaser. Then she laughed. An evil long-drawn-out laugh.
I realized that she had no idea that I was there. She could not hear my breathless anxiety building up and up.
But there was no time. Did Chris make it? I heard nothing…nothing familiar that seemed of his voice from ahead or behind. Was he ok?
My tongue was dry. No time. My senses sharpened. I had to make it to the safe zone. I sprinted, but halted when I saw a shadowy figure ahead. Someone from the game? Someone not? She turned around and said, “Are you…” I dodged slightly to the middle of the street and ran ahead.
And there on the bright lights on Fell street right near the panhandle, I saw a familiar figure. Chris. He was standing in a way to say What’s happening? Where are you? Are you ok?
He spotted me and hesitated, knowing that I could have crossed the boundary of being a chaser too.
“I am safe!” I exclaimed.
I ran toward him in embrace and said, “I made it! But I don’t know if other people did…”