There is a guy I run into every time I leave the house. He lives on the next street so it isn’t unusual that I run into him. What is unusual is that it happens regardless of the time I go out; morning, mid-afternoon, late nights, doesn’t matter.
And he always stops to chat. I wouldn’t mind so much if he mixed it up a little. If he waved as he drove past some days, pulled over and gisted on other days. No, he stops every single time.
I’ve tried peeking first to check that the coast is clear before coming out but he sees me, always before I see him so it is very predatory. His black Honda with its tinted windows swoops down and is pulling over next to me before I notice. I mouth “oh shit” then recompose my face in a smile.
His windows are tinted but they are always rolled down with his head poked out, his eyes roving back and forth. That gets me too. If your window is tinted, roll it up and ignore me. Take the privacy you have claimed for yourself.
“Hey bros, how far?”
I never know how to respond. We have known each other for years, our relationship has stagnated in the space defined by pre-packaged lines of dialogue.
“Emm, umm.. how is business?”
He has given me his business card seven times now. They are starting to pile up in my room and I don’t throw them out because I am waiting for the day he will ask first, “Do you have my business card?”
And I will shout, “YES! YES! For God’s sake, yes.”
But he never asks, he just peels a new one out of the pile and hands it over each time. We are not close enough for me to point that out. I take it and look at it like it’s the first time. I nod like I’m impressed, apologise for not having one to give in return and round up the conversation.
I wonder if I would prefer if he didn’t have such a bad memory and was trying to build on successive meetings. But then I would have to keep track of my lies.
And I wonder if he tells people we are friends. “I see him every day, we’re buddies!”
Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, last week he skipped a few steps in our friendship and tried to have a guy talk with me.
“You know that girl Veronica?”
“You know, Vero with the big…” then he shaped his hands in the air around imaginary boobs and ass.
This one is my fault. I have two brothers and I went to a boys school. I should be better at navigating these. But I freeze, and I start thinking that if I saw him first one day, I could run, you know. He would still see me, but he would have to chase me down for that conversation. I imagine I’d make it a few roads away as he sped after me, his head thrown back cackling. He would lean out with a harpoon and spear me in the thigh and I wouldn’t stop, I would just keep crawling into the bush bleeding all over the fucking place until he caught up with me and said, “Bros how far?”