« Home

Why I Will Most Likely Die Young

One crisp spring Saturday a few months back, J decided it was absolutely imperative that he pick up a few things from the spice store. He wasn't sure yet what those things were, but he would recognize them when he saw them, like long-lost friends. ("Sumac, where've ya been? Grains of paradise, missed ya!") And I, being his weekend chauffeur (chauffeuse?) agreed to accompany him. I parallel parked and got out, waiting for the vehicle stopped at the light next to me to pull up, so I could cross the street. It didn't pull up, so I walked around it to cross. The light turned green, the line of cars pulled away, and still this vehicle stood, unmoving. I could feel the driver staring at me, in his unmoving vehicle at the green light, and I wondered if he was checking me out. I turned to look over my shoulder, and he was in fact staring at me, but there were no waggling eyebrows, no licking of lips, no sly wink. Instead, this man, this craggy-faced, gray-haired man, was looking at me....no, no, looking is not the right word, staring fixedly at me as if I had ritually slaughtered and killed his entire family and his dog, and he had come back to seek vengeance. I'm telling you, this man wanted me dead. I continued walking, looking over my shoulder, unable to turn away from this man who hated me so. Then he rolled down his window and leaned his head menacingly out, while the daggers he was shooting out his eyes metamorphosed into swords, then machetes and buzzing chainsaws. I looked frantically for J; he had to be seeing this too! He would save me from the crazy-eyed potential killer! My hero, my sweet hero will save the...but J was single-mindedly and purposefully striding ahead towards his true love; the spice store. I wanted to call out, but I couldn't even squeak. I was on my own with the crazy-eyed crazy, who was still determinedly staring me down. Then, having finally exhausted his store of poison death rays, he slowly, oh-so-slowly, pulled away, without ever taking his eyes off me. I scurried across the street and caught up with J, panting and whisper-screaming, "I almost died! And you didn't even notice, but I almost died back there!" J was skeptical. "I'm telling you - he put a hex on me!"

Later that night I had sufficiently recovered to go out for a late dinner with J and co. I would walk there, J would T there and we would meet at the restaurant. I left the house feeling rather jaunty in my kitten heels and new trench coat. It was dark out, but still a warmish night for March. I had planned to walk to Harvard down Broadway, but awoke from my self-absorbed reverie to find myself on Cambridge St. Oh well, I thought, this is what I get for not paying attention. But it runs mostly parallel to Broadway, and I can get there this way as well. There weren't many people out, so when I heard footsteps behind me, they stood out against the relative silence of the street. I heard them from a little distance back, and the jingling of change in a pocket. They were the footsteps of a man, I knew that. I made sure to keep myself alert, and listened to the steps getting louder and closer. The change jingled louder, and suddenly the cadence sped up, faster and faster. Ok, I thought, any minute he'll pass me, he'll go around...the footsteps were so fast as to be nearly running now, and my heart sped up. At the critical point where I felt him directly behind me, I turned slightly, but he was not going around me. He wasn't going around me at all; he was directly behind me and so close he could touch me. As I strained to turn to see my assailant's face, he reached an arm around to cover my mouth...My last thought was, "I can't believe this is happening." In the whirl of images I took in during what I thought might be my last few moments on Earth, I caught a glimpse of a face; not my assailant's, but someone else. His accomplice. A familiar face, actually, one that I had seen many times before. But where? The evening news? Primetime, Dateline, America's Most Wanted?

"Dave!" Which meant that....I turned around to find J laughing while I tried to fight back tears. I wasn't able to do more than whimper for the first few seconds while I formulated something to say. Which probably wasn't necessary, as I think my face said it all.

"Wow," Dave said, "her face...That was really mean...You probably took years off her life there."

And that is why I will most likely die young.

Previous posts