Last night I went for my usual 30 minute power walk. When I started doing them, I'd leave before dinner, or while dinner was in the oven, and it was still daylight. Now with the change of seasons, my walks are in the dark. I usually walk on sidewalks, in fairly well light areas around my neighbourhood, at different times of the evening, and nothing even remotely concerning has happened. Until last night.
When I came to the downhill stretch, I pulled out my phone to take a picture of the beautiful sparkling lights of the city below. As I am taking the picture, a car drives by me, slowly. I choose not to pay attention, stow away my cellphone and keep walking. The car keeps driving, until at the end of the lane, I see the break lights flashing.
And then I see the backup lights coming on, and slowly, the car is backing up towards me. I slow down. The car slows down. I keep walking. The car backs up a bit further, and steers towards the side walk. The sidewalk I am on. Then it stops, lights on, engine idling. I am now so close, and my mind races. 'He'll throw open the passenger side door just as I walk by and knock me off my feet. He's going to rob me. He's going to rape me. I need to call for help.' As I am thinking, like a robot, I keep on walking, ever nearer to the car. I have now reached the rear end of the idling vehicle, the darkness around me aglow in the bright red light of its break lights, wondering if I should walk around the car on the right, or on the left, or if I should walk around it at all. I decided to stay to the right, but extremely clear of the door, stepping off the sidewalk and onto the grass of a front lawn. And then, in one second I'm past the car, my shadow looming huge in front of me, projected by the flood lights of its high beams, still holding my breath. Suddenly, and without warning, the lights turn off. Plunged into darkness, I turn swing around to brace myself for what's coming, and finally get a glimpse of the driver, sitting at the wheel, glancing intently at what seems to be a brightly lit smartphone, texting away.
I suppose that last message couldn't wait before he had properly parked the car and turned off the engine.