Stranger is stranger
It started when I noticed her in my local pub. She’d turn-up next to me at the bar when I went to buy a round. We’d exchange greetings and niceties. Or, I’d pass her when returning from the toilets and we’d exchange friendly smiles. I don’t know why she picked me.
She became an increasingly familiar stranger. During one conversation at the bar I invited her to join us. She perched next to me, not mixing with my friends. She focussed on engaging me in conversation. The more I talked with her the further away I seemed to drift from my friends. I could see them floating away in mind and space. Leaving me, with her, wrapped in an unpleasant isolation.
I stopped going to that pub. I enjoy feeling free. Even if I can’t go places to maintain the illusion of freedom. Then I started seeing her in the shopping centre, when roller-blading along the seafront, and worst of all – when I was walking home from work. I started varying the time I left work and the route I took home. She started waiting outside the one door to the building. I knew I was being stalked. Did she know she was a stalker?
A game started when she walked up to me as I left work - I’d ask her where she was going then turn to go the other way, when she changed her mind, I’d change my mind. The ridiculousness of the situation helped me just say
“I don’t want to walk with you or spend any time with you, I’d rather be alone, please leave me alone”
“what are you scared of?”
“I don’t want to walk with you, talk with you or be with you, accept it, goodbye”
She walked next to me, talking as if I were a betraying lover that owed her an explanation. I looked straight ahead and walked on, pretending she wasn’t there, living what I wanted as if behaving like she wasn’t there would make her go away. I was extremely scared and equally determined to walk to Darren’s nearby home. She stopped at Darren’s beech hedge. I walked his garden path in the new silence feeling as-if her eyes were pawing my back. Darren welcomed me with a outsized smile and hug, fed me pots of tea, listened to my burbling mess of a story before more delicious hugs and walking me home.
Alas, these things never end quite that easily