“What’s your name, girl?” I said “…What?” Then he said, “Your name, BITCH. I AM ASKING YOU YOUR NAME? WHAT’S YOUR NAME BITCH?”

I was walking to Whole Foods on Halstead street, and at the time, my hair was bright blue. Sometimes, people would see my hair and say things like “Your hair color is cool” or “Wow, how’d you get it that color?” innocent enough questions.

As I cross the street and step on to the corner, I hear being shouted at me, “HEY. HEY! You with the blue hair!” I assumed someone was going to ask me something about why I dyed it or how I got it to be so bright, as usual. But when I turned to my left, toward the sound of the voice, down the cross street, I saw two girls standing on one side of the sidewalk, and they pointed to a group of five men on the other side. So this whole group was completely blocking the path (I was going down Halstead, they were blocking Addison).

All five of the men were looking at me. One of them said “I like your hair.” Not sure what else to say, I just said “Thanks.”

Then, another one of them said “What’s your name, girl?” I said “…What?” Then he said, “Your name, BITCH. I AM ASKING YOU YOUR NAME? WHAT’S YOUR NAME BITCH?”

Wanting to get out of there, I gave them a fake name. I said “Pietra Maximoff.” (I’m guessing they don’t read Marvel comics, because if they did, they’d know Quicksilver’s name is Pietro Maximoff. …They didn’t seem like the comic reading type.)

I started to walk away as fast as I could. I wasn’t quite running, but damn close to it. As I walked away I could hear the man yelling something like “Get over here, girly!”

I got to the Whole Foods and went as far in the back of the store as I could. I texted my boyfriend to tell him what happened. I was scared to leave the store alone. I didn’t know if they’d followed me or if they would still be there when I came out. The worst part? I needed to get to work. And I would have to go down Addison to get there. Which meant I would have to WALK THROUGH that group of men to get where I needed to be. To avoid them, I would have to walk down Halstead to the nearest light, cross to the other side, walk back up, cross Addison on the other side, then cross Halstead, walk to the train station, and then cross traffic yet AGAIN to actually get on the train.

My boyfriend works on Halstead. He left work, walked to Whole Foods, and found me. He took me by the hand out of the store, and we headed toward the corner of Addison and Halstead. He said “You need to go this way? Then this is the way we’ll go. You shouldn’t have to do all that.”

The men were still there. My boyfriend pulled me close, and we walked passed them. He gave them a “f**k you, don’t touch her” look as we passed. He walked me all the way to the train.

I don’t know if I would have gotten to work on time if my boyfriend hadn’t walked me to the train.