We froze, staring at each other. Him standing, me sitting.
A brief first encounter but not one I’d easily forget.
My gut and clenched jaw conveyed to me that I was being an inconvenience to him.
His face was incredibly stern, lifeless, what counselors would call “having a flat affect”. I wasn’t intimidated, though I certainly should have been.
A sneaky grin, coated with sarcasm, curved onto my face as I innocently answered his first question, while shaking my head, “Oh no, the picture I took of you…it’s for Facebook. You know…to teach my friends a lesson, while learning mine.”
His initial silence spoke volumes as he handed me a thin piece of paper, “If you wanted my number all you had to do was ask for it?”
Without saying a word I crumpled it up and shoved it into my overly stuffed purse.
Hoping I would never see him again, I watched as he walked away.
Arrogantly, he stopped and waited for me to leave first. Determination kept me there but I finally gave in just wanting to be as far away from him as possible.
It took me a few minutes to be sure he was no longer near me before I felt safe.
Even though I couldn’t stand him, when he was out of my sight, he was anything but out of my mind. For the remainder of the night, he was all I thought about, as I committed the structure of his face to memory.
Immediately, his stolen image was texted to my closest friends and of course, my status updated with it too.
What was he thinking stopping me like that? He knew it wouldn’t make me happy.
Sleep was the only remedy for moving
past our uncomfortable encounter.
The night seemed much shorter than it really was. The vibrating buzz next to my head gradually brought me out of my coma-like sleep, my thumb putting my phone on snooze.
Ten minutes pointlessly felt like ten seconds, “Ugh!” I had to get up.
An oscillating fan blew my bedroom window curtain to the side, “Just like I thought…cold, dark and drizzling.”
There was always comfort when it actually rained, like visible drops of rain, but when it drizzled, it felt like I missed something big and only caught it’s miserable end.
I scratched my kittens head with the corner of my phone as he rubbed up against mine, “Time for me to go again, Fluffernutter.”
Having a mind of its own, my thumb sneakily slid to the photos app to reveal his picture once more, “Like I really need to see that!?” Moving past last night wasn’t going to be easy.
An early breakfast certainly wasn’t going to happen, so rather than dwell on it, I darted out the door, covering my head with my hood, to shield me from the obnoxious “rain”.
Fourteen hours had passed since our cold encounter, but who was counting?
It took some concentration but as soon as I convinced myself that he no longer mattered and that I never had to see him again, there he was, insidiously behind me, like he totally knew I was going to be right there at that exact moment.
Did he know where I lived? Was he following me? Was I safe?
Pulling my cap as low on my forehead as I could, I held it’s brim looking down, ostrich style, hoping he wouldn’t notice me, even though I knew he did and rolled down my window before he asked me to.
Extending my arm out to him, holding exactly what I knew he wanted from me, I shook my head slowly back and forth, still looking down, in shame.
He reached over, taking what he came for, “I clocked you in at forty-five miles per hour this time, Miss.”
Flushed with reddening cheeks I didn’t look up, “I am so so sorry.”
“Where are you headed, Miss?”
I continued to talk to my lap, “School.”
Three of his fingers wiggled in my periphery, “Well, I’m not going to write you up this time but three’s a charm.”
“Thank you. You have no idea, I am so so sorry.”
He wished me well, “Be safe out there”, and like a champion, strutted away.
By this point I knew the routine and pulled out first. The heat of his stare followed me from behind all the way to my next turn.
While coasting away, slowly, I beat myself up, not for getting pulled over twice in less than twenty-four hours but for not asking him to take a “selfie” with me. You know, to continue teaching my friends a lesson as I continued to learn mine. Lord knows that after being forced to go thirty miles per hour, I certainly had enough time to think about it.