The encounter | Anonymous
I sat across from him, trying to avert his gaze. He’d been staring at me for what felt like hours, and yet the tube journey was only three minutes long. It was lazy of me to get the tube for such a short distance, but it was the only part of the day that I got any time to myself.
I kept my eyes fixed firmly on my phone but I could feel him glancing back at me every few seconds. Did I have something in my hair? It was the only explanation, so I quickly ran my hands through my curls hoping to disturb anything that wasn’t supposed to be there.
Again, I looked up to find his eyes. Green. Piercing me at every opportunity. I gave a small smile, hoping to get a grasp on the situation in front of me. But I was no further forward. He smirked back, tapping the pole he was holding onto. I could smell his aftershave. It had that distinct smell of a man, yet I couldn’t pick up notes of anything in particular.
The tube slowed and the voice boomed to tell us to expect to depart. And I did. With him following close behind me. Now I was concerned. I’d read about stuff like this, men following women who were alone. Taking advantage. Slipping down an alley behind them. I would take the main roads, I decided. It would take me at least ten minutes longer but I was sure Kevin would understand if I was a few minutes late given the circumstances.
Crossing the road, he quickly picked up the pace to do the same. Then I felt it. A tap on my shoulder.
‘Excuse me?’ Shit. I hadn’t thought about what would happen if he approached me. I fumbled in my pocket for my keys, hoping my sharp entryway key would be able to assist me if anything went tits up.
‘Yes?’ I mumbled.
‘You dropped this.’ He handed me a single AirPod. I removed my hand from the safety of my pocket. Fuck my capitalist ways. I knew I’d end up losing them, but I felt pressured to see what all the fuss was about. I made a note to not use them in public again.
‘Thanks. I hate these things.’
‘You look familiar’ he pressed.
‘Yeah. Fuck, I don’t know. I feel like we’ve met.’
‘No, I don’t think so. Maybe I just have one of those faces.’ My stock response. I got this a lot. Mostly from people who were my own age. Or thereabouts.
‘Oh. Must have. Have a nice day!’ I’d managed to diffuse the situation. I smiled and saluted him. Bit weird but I’d committed to it. I swivelled and turned again towards the office. He walked behind me, at a slower pace this time, giving me more space now he didn’t need my attention. Then I heard his footsteps quicken.
‘Hey! I do know you!’ He yelled, people were looking at me. He got closer and whispered.
‘You… you’re in that porn…’
Ding ding ding. We have a winner.
The writer of this piece has asked to be featured anonymously.