It has been a long while hasnt it my old friend? Since we laughed and talked in the old way, worlds blending into one garbled fluid dance, we made marvelous partners, you and I. Oh, how we moved through gardens and caves and fields and we played. We let joy flood our face pretending we were one. Not in truth only in jest but those moments, do you remember? What were you just thinking? You had a look in your eye and the ghost of a smile. Maybe you thought of me back where you left me. I’m still here waiting. Inside this house with its mouse-filled walls and its creaky floors. I still get splinters when I move from room to room, hiding from the shadows. They still haunt me here. Still scratch at my bedroom door. Whispering for more. It gets lonely here. I’ve made friends with the bats, remember how we used to watch them fly out of the house into the evening sky? We watched them grow smaller and smaller as they flew further away. We wondered if we’d grow wings so we could fly. Grow smaller and smaller. I hope you come get me. It’s dark here and the walls are not silent. They whisper secrets I’d rather not hear. Tell me stories I’m trying to forget. I miss you, you know. Do you miss me too? You must. You must feel empty too.
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.
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?
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.
I look into his deep, soul-ful
Eyes and marvel at the
Tales they hold.
Stories he whispers in furtive
Glances and guarded words.
They are stories I alone can hear
Wading in this sea of white.
This sea crashes and churns, and
My ship struggles to remain afloat,
His vessel remains undaunted – unbroken
Miles and miles it has traveled in this white sea.
I consider my ship, small and
Teetering. Boards loose and breaking
It is not at all equipped for the journey on which it has embarked.
Mohammed’s vessel is strong,
It is armed and yes, it has some insecurities,
But it can make it to the end.
Before I begin the precarious journey home,
I bid him farewell, sounding my Horn in celebration of him.
Then slowly, I begin my return trek, This boat was made for shallow waters.
It is time for a new vessel.