When I moved to Olympia, I thought it would be a lot like much of the smaller towns I had been to. I thought there would be a lot of small-minded individuals and a lot of bigots; a low about of crime and a high amount of pickup trucks. Upon moving here, I figured that working in downtown Olympia would not be a problem. For a while, I was right. Months went by before any big event happened. I had heard stories from my coworkers that had involved a lot of crime-doing and trouble-making right around our property. I suppose I decided they were exaggerating.

One faithful day, a huge event occurred that made that decision a horrible mistake. As I was preparing for the day, a woman wearing pajamas had come up to the window and knocked three times–maybe four–it didn’t matter. She asked if she could use my phone to call the police. I didn’t want her using the office equipment, so I came out to see what was going on. She told me she was scared of her brother because he was threatening to kill her boyfriend. This fear immediately blanketed on me and I invited her to use my cell phone. As she was, I looked across the street–towards the screaming voices I had heard–and saw, unmistakably, her brother and boyfriend.

Now, what sparked the feelings behind what I was witnessing, I will probably never know. The brother lunged towards the boyfriend with a decent sized blade in his hand. They danced their fight into the middle of the street while calling each other motherfuckers and cocksuckers. The woman on the phone was not telling the police what was happening at this moment, so I removed my phone from her hand and told them myself.

Shortly after, they moved their fight to the park across the street, at which point the police came and arrested both parties and I stood inside a locked door and comforted a crying woman in pajamas. After unlocking the door after the police determined it safe, we spoke to them and I sat back down and stared out the window, shocked at what I had just seen.

Sometimes, when I find myself downtown these days, I still see pajama woman (sometimes in pajamas–sometimes without) and she smiles and waves at me, silently thanking me for offering comfort. Little does she know, I was even more terrified than she was.