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The same route back. The same company. Except this time round, it was only half the journey and at this time, it was past midnight on an early Monday morning.

Hence I did not feel the fear as I would have in the past. My flatmate asked me the day after, “Weren’t you scared?” My answer was negative. The streets felt safe, well-acquainted and there were still pedestrians around – and I spotted mostly folks of the similar gender.

Maybe it was the experience I garnered from my spanish friend – how to walk confidently and never to exhibit any fear when walking alone at night. It could be due to the trial notch I carved up last month. Or the familiarity with the neighbourhood.

Walking quick brisk steps, I began  my estimated 15min walk home after I alighted at West Kensington station from the last district train. Ten minutes earlier, I had boarded service 391 to enquire about my possibilities and the driver assuming I did not understand English, repeated “3, 9, 1, from the other side” thrice. I crossed the road in nimble steps and to my dismay, discovered there were no more buses!! Not even a potential night bus on that whole stretch. My gamble not to alight at Earl’s Cout to try for the last Picadilly train seemed to fall through. The decision to not wait for 40min for the next bus seemed to have turned into a mockery. With no other options in sight, I did a quick mental calculation – multiplication of twice the time required for the bus journey appeared appropriate, reasonable and most importantly – there were no other alternatives left.

For the entire quarter of an hour, I kept striding forward. No hesitation, no stopping. Hammersmith Broadway – my destination. After an eternity, I crossed into the shopping mall only to find the usual exit closed. Sighing, I circled around the building to look for the final route back. It took nearly another 5min to reach my front door. Escaping from the wintry night into home ground, the door slammed behind me. I was back. Back at home.

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