I saw him when I left work yesterday. How could I have missed him? Standing on the sidewalk about ten feet from my office door, staring at me all crazy with an "I promise not to hurt you" smile and bald head gleaming in the early spring sunset. I can tell when someone is watching me, can't we all? This one was way too obvious, though.
As I proceeded down the sidewalk, he was walking very slowly - too slowly - in front of me. It seemed as if he were waiting for me to pass him, and if it were anyone else I would have (step aside old ladies, between me and my 5:00 margarita is NOT where you want to be!) When he stopped to peer into the window at the Hobby Shop I decided that it was time to take evasive measures and stepped into the shop.
At this point, I could have walked out the back door into the alley and been halfway home before baldy even knew I was gone. I was curious, though. I wasn't sure the guy was actually stalking me. I had to find out one way or an other. As I re-emerged from the shop, I was not at all surprised to see him still standing there, a few feet away pretending to study the selection of children's frames in the window at the optometrist's office. As I moved down the street, he began to move with me, always about ten feet ahead, but still really slow like he wanted me to walk past him.
When I paused to light a cigarette, he paused too. He turned toward the street and stepped back to the building, so now I would HAVE to pass him in order to proceed. I was on the verge of turning around altogether and going back through the Hobby Shop, until he stuck his right hand in his jacket pocket. I could see a bulge in the jacket, and the curve of his wrist told me that he was holding something. I froze, but not in a paralyzed way, more like in a "I will NOT walk past this man or turn my back on him until I see what's in his hand!" way. I was thinking small handgun, tazer, knife, blackjack, camera, whatever - I wasn't taking an other step until I knew EXACTLY what he was holding.
It turned out to be a fancy cigarette case, from which he drew a smoke. I hurried past before he could ask me for a light, then was around the corner and out of his sight as quickly as possible. My head was humming as I pressed my back against the warm brick wall and replayed the last few moments in my mind. He definately smiled at me when I was close, he tried to make eye contact, and when he opened his mouth was he about to say something to me? I watched his reflection in the window of the sandwich shop across the street. He was still there, but something about his position had changed. I peeked around the corner.
That is when it got weird. That is when I became convinced that this was something more than mere paranoia. He had stepped forward and turned to face the direction of my office. He stood right there, unmoving, in the spot where I had crossed in front of him for several minutes. When he finished his cigarette, that was it, he walked away. I saw that not only did the man have no other legitimate reason to be there in the first place, but that he stared longingly at the place where I just was. You know how sometimes you just get a certain vibe and you're not sure why, but you're almost certain that you're right? This was one of those.
I got a really good look at him. I will never forget that face. If I ever see this man anywhere again I will recognize him I have no doubt. He better not cross my path again or the hunter will become the hunted.