I woke up this morning at 7am and decided it was far too early for a Saturday where I really had nothing to do but sit around feeling sorry for myself. The second time I woke up was to the sound of emails arriving to my phone, 1030am, signifying that the rest of the world was up so I might as well be up too.
Up I got, then, and indeed sat around for a bit feeling sorry for myself.
The night before, I should let you know, sort of shocked me and led me to a moment of introspection in the “what if I had died” sort of frame of mind, which is always a rough frame of mind to start from. I’d been to the art show and, about ten minutes in, realised I was being followed.
This wasn’t the kind of “I’m being followed” that causes all your friends to worry about your sanity a little. This was the kind where not only did your friends believe you, but they knew precisely who you were talking about without a direction, without a description, without so much as a gesture.
“You mean the short creeper with no hair and a necklace?” And indeed it was that very same creeper.
We carried on through four tents with our little shadow close behind, and when we stopped to look at the photographs of old diners, he decided to make his move. “Where’s the best art?” he asked me, thumbing through photos without looking at them. I replied that I didn’t know as I’d just arrived.
“Sometimes,” he said, grinning madly, “you just don’t know perfection until you see it.”
In the span of about ten minutes he had told us that he was from out of town, was a world famous musician once, and was in town for an office party at his law firm. He then invited us for a drink at the office party. We three did go for the drink since we couldn’t manage to get away from him and thought it might be like ripping off a bandaid. Sooner done, the sooner you’re back to the game.
The small amount of time we spent in the office party was riddled with thinly veiled insinuations and talk of our living together. He was, mind you, closer to my mother’s age than to mine. I told him he was hitting on someone young enough to be his daughter which did not phase him one bit which led us to the offering of drinks.
I insisted on water and while he was off getting that I informed everyone around that if my water was drugged I was not to leave their site for one instant. “Not one Instant-I’m not joking!” I had sent emergency texts and pleas for help and was just standing there waiting for a savior.
He talked too close, which kept me backing away, which led to me being essentially chased around tables. A very slow chase, but a chase nonetheless. He was trying too hard, which led him to lie, which led me to fight with him over every discrepancy. He kept trying to touch my arm, which led to my friends making awkward shields, which led to strange conversation groupings.
Eventually, I asked The Doyenne what time it was. “Past your pumpkin time,” she said, looping her arm through mine. I grabbed the arm of her boyfriend and was prepared to make a mad dash when Old Creeper Jason grabbed my arm as well. He told me, with the utmost sincerity, how intrigued he was by me.
“I know,” I said, wresting my arm from him. “That’s why I have to leave.”
Perhaps in this retelling it is not as terrifying as it was at the time, but it caused a serious change in my mood. I suddenly felt as though I’d accomplished nothing, spent my past week making impetuous decisions, and had fallen into a comfortably unexamined state of existence. I knew nothing and felt nothing and if I’d been drugged and thrown into the river last night, I’d’ve had precious little to show at my funeral.
I had just arrived at that shocking thought when I received a late rescue call from JJ who proceeded to ask me various, rapid-fire questions which I was too stunned to answer. I thanked him for calling, told him I would explain later… “at least tell me you’re ok,” he said.
“I think so,” I replied, and hung up.