Where You Headed ?

Rain fell from the sky, I remember looking up at the clouds and smiling, so grateful to be alive.  The sky was split, grey and white clouds swam fast and steady toward the East End. I looked to the harbor, and grinned at the clear blue, still untouched by the storm.

Gazing ahead, I wondered if I could beat the rain clouds home.  I wanted to stand in that space which was half storm and half blue sky; feel the contradiction of the elements beat upon my flesh.

I walked slowly, paper bag holding Paulo Coelho’s new book, Adultery and three steamed chicken buns (bubble tea was out of pork, *sigh*) swaying gently as I moved.  I had placed my glasses in the bag as well, because they are more of a hindrance than a help in rainy weather.  Besides, I didn’t care how far my eyes could see, I had my new headphones placed securely in my ears and was perfectly contented to feel the rain on my skin and dance to Billy Joel down the street.

I’d like to think that is why I didn’t notice him.

His name was Mark, or so he said. I rounded the corner a couple of blocks from where I live and saw his car pull into a driveway ahead of me and turn around.  The window was rolled down and he appeared to be trying for my attention, I thought maybe he needed directions and I could score some good samaritan points by pointing him in the right direction.

He had pulled past me toward the main road, when I took out my ear buds, he put the car into reverse and swerved into the opposite lane to talk to me.  I remember thinking it a little odd.

As it turned out, he did not want directions, he wanted me.

Mark: Where are you headed?

It is worth noting that the sedan looked like an unmarked cop car, which explains my overly trusting, unwise response.

La: Home.

M: This is the second time I’ve seen you.  I           saw you walking earlier and tried to get               your attention. I wanted to know if you                 needed a ride.  You live around here?  I’m             Mark, what’s your name?

L: La.

M: Well, I just thought I’d see if you needed a       ride.  I thought you were cute. I’m not a                 stalker or anything…

L: Oh. Well, have a good day.

M: Ok, you too.  Maybe next time you’ll feel         comfortable enough to take a ride.

L: Doubtful, but maybe.  Take care.

I took a different street home.  Circled around the block and checked in front and behind me the remainder of the way home.  When I got inside, I locked the windows and doors and made certain the shades were drawn.

His words played over in my head.  I remember his car, a dark sedan with tinted windows. Clean. Immaculate even.  He wore sunglasses, rectangular, dark, so I couldn’t see his eyes.  It was raining and he wore sunglasses.

He knew the neighborhood I live in.  “Maybe next time you’ll feel comfortable enough to take a ride.”

“Maybe next time…”

“Maybe next time…”

I wish this were just an interesting plot idea kids.  I wish that this scenario was something I’d thought up and could spin into some sort of book and land a brilliant deal with a publisher – I suppose I still could – but it wasn’t, isn’t. This happened tonight.  This clean cut man, with his clean kept car, and shades and tinted windows approached me. Watched me. Followed me.  This was so much more than your everyday street harassment, kids.  There are scary people out there.

Be careful. Be watchful. Be safe.

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