It had been an exceedingly long day. Full day at work, followed by errands. My legs were sore and muscles buzzing with ache. It was around 10:30 at night and I had just finished my final errand of the night: a few essentials at the grocery store. My shopping bag weighed heavy on my shoulder and my stomach rumbled, reminding me that I hadn’t eaten since that half-sandwich back at 2:00pm.
I became aware that a strange man had begun walking alongside me, a little too close. I bristled. Keys in my hand, I tightened my grip, should I need to defend myself. I knew he was preparing for a drive-by. I steeled myself and clenched my teeth.
“Look at us, walking along like this,” came his low, melodic tone. “We make a cute couple.”
Caught off-guard, I laughed, in spite of myself.
“You have a good night,” he wished me, walking ahead as I turned the corner.
Still on guard, I never looked at him directly, but murmured into the darkness: