The sun flooded the sidewalks, the humidity was low, Friday beckoned. I was on my way home from work and saw a guy walking his bike veer off to the side. His maroon shirt matched his bike and then I passed him and re-concentrated on my audiobook.
I made a last minute decision to stop at the local convenience store to grab a carton of ice cream to celebrate surviving the stressful week. As I got to the cash register, Mr. Maroon Shirt was perusing the aisles.
Wasn’t he headed in the other direction before?
What an odd coincidence.
I hope it’s a coincidence.
I committed his buzz cut, his light eyes, his stubbled cheeks, his slight build, average height to memory as I handed over cash to cover my purchases. As I headed out, I threw another glance over my shoulder and decided against putting the ear bud back in my ear.
The sunshine drenched evening didn’t match with the feeling in my gut.
Another glance over my shoulder showed he was empty handed and pushing his bike in the same direction I was headed.
I ducked down the driveway between my apartment and the one next door in a vain hope of not showing him where I live. Two guys from my building (both in their 60s) were strolling up the driveway and we exchanged quick “hello how are you’s.” Once past them and with no one else in view, I dashed to the back door of my apartment building and let myself in with shaking fingers.
I suppose this is why you’re taught not to talk to strangers.