“You look lovely today!”
She walked briskly, her umbrella open to shield herself from the light rain. She disregarded the remark she heard simply because she was sure it was not her being alluded to.
The man who walked beside her was a stranger. With his rugged behavior, he could be a snatcher who would try to make her another statistic in hundreds of unsolved cases daily. She readied herself for the attack by holding to her bag like it was her chastity on the line.
“I said you look lovely today,” Henry repeated, his tenor was more amiable.
“Do I know you?” she asked, retreating a bit to create further space between them. “I am sorry I am in a hurry.”
“I live a few houses from yours. You stay with your aunt Cora.”
She lied. She knew him very well to the point that being with him at the moment gave her the creeps.
“I will be late for work,” she remarked, visibly agitated that she earned his attention.
“I am just trying to be friendly. Nothing to be afraid about.”
She did not believe a word he said. How could you trust someone who breathed nastiness as if it was fresh air.
“Can we do this another time?” she blurted out, instantly criticizing herself for giving him a reason to see her again. “I mean, I can’t talk right now.”
“I understand,” he resigned without letting his normal persistent attitude giving her much worry. “I hope you have a good day.”
She left him standing motionless by the curb. But when she was almost ten yards away, she glanced back at him, absolutely confused of his gentlemanly behavior. She was harsh on him, her head forcing her kindness to be subdued to protect her from harm. She felt she wronged him that instant.
“Don’t be too hopeful, man!” he heard, thinking it was the imp in his shoulder reminding him of reality.
A dilapidated sedan braked to a stop beside him. The driver grinned derisively, perhaps a recent observer of what had just transpired.
Henry’s face soured once again. His good day had another visitor from the realm he was trying to avoid.
“Can’t I talk to normal people?” His question was a subtle insult to the group inside the sedan.
“You’re us, man! You can’t suddenly wash yourself of all your sins.”
Henry tried to move away from further taunting remarks. He had to get away.
“I am going to church!” he shouted back as he lost himself in the rows of small stores.
Their wild roars of laughter echoed in his ears as if he was condemned to fail with his foolish try.