Seeing and being seen

Walking down Commercial Drive – low  muttering and footsteps coming up quickly behind me. I turned around – me, short and weighed down by my backpack full of computer and stuff – and looked straight up at a tall man close by my elbow. He glared down at me – a young native man in a tan trenchcoat . “What you lookin’ at?”, he snarled. I looked into his face and said, “well i heard steps coming up behind me and – i am looking at you.”

The man seemed so taken aback by the fact that I had simply answered his question, that the snarling mask fell off his face. I was startled myself, by how suddenly he stopped being a menace and became a sweet-faced young man. He smiled slightly, and looked a bit abashed – “oh,” he said. Paused, then strode past me. A moment later he turned and said quietly, “this might be a strange question but, can you give me five dollars for bus fare?”. I hesitated, looking into his eyes, then said “no, I can’t do that.” He nodded and turned to keep walking and I said to his retreating back, “but good luck with it.” He turned again and looked at me with soft eyes. “Thanks”, he said and vanished on his long legs.

One Response to “Seeing and being seen”

  1. Cassandra Says:

    i have had fantasies of any of my run-ins with unsettling situations going this way – glad to read it goes beyond my dreams. witnessing & witnessed

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