I was running errands the other night, and stopped to return some library books. I was talking to Melissa on the cell phone, and paced around outside a bit while we finished up our conversation. I finally got chilly and headed back. I was walking between two cars to get to mine, still chatting with Mel when someone grabbed me from behind and growled, "give me your money!"
I screamed and broke off, to find my assailant: a "friend" of 20 years. My fear turned to white-hot lividity, and with Mel now screaming on the phone, "what's happening, what happened?", I got into my car, slammed the door in his face and drove off. Hyperventilating, I managed to explain to Mel that I was ok, merely a victim of a practical joke. We both found it VERY UN-funny.
Next errand then: ATM. I parked and walked over, as I meant to grab a cup of tea before continuing on. I was still pissed, shaking and nauseous from the "mugging" I'd received, and when I left the ATM, found a very large man quickly crossing the street directly toward me.
Due to the state I was in, my mind went "Auuurghh!! Someone's coming!" and my heart hit my breastbone in fear.
But I recovered, I thought, quickly enough. In the split-second after my irrational jump, I realized I was NOT afraid of this man. I was in a well-lit area, in front of a glass-front restaurant, just off of a high-traffic road.
I smiled and said "hi" as I passed him. He smiled back and said "hey." He got about 20 feet past me, and turned back and yelled, "hey, you should smile a lot, you have a beautiful smile....And I mean you no harm."
My face heated with embarrassment as I basked in the compliment. It was clear that he'd recognized my inital response to his presence. I was then paralyzed...he's moving on, and I wanted to chase him. I wanted to tell him "I'm sorry, I'm sorry about that stupid deer-in-headlights look I gave you, but it wasn't about you...I was just in another parking lot you see...." Instead, I said only "thank you."
And he was gone. In an 8-minute time-span, I'd been laughing, terrorized & yelping, assuring, angry, complimented, and comforted...that no harm would come to me.
I wanted to melt. I wanted to sit down right in the middle of the street where he left me and take a rest.
I am still both embarrassed and touched by the encounter with this man.
I do not know him, but I recognize him, have seen him "around."
I hope that I will bump into him again sometime.
If I see him again, I promist to chase him down. I promise to apologize to him, and to tell him how I appreciated his kind gesture that evening. Maybe he won't remember me, maybe I'll ramble on and he'll think I'm a crackpot. Maybe I AM a crackpot.
But I want him to know: I do not inherently fear large people. My father was a very large man, and people often feared him because of his size, which I found idiotic. "Large" does not mean "violent" for heaven's sake! I do not fear dark skin. I do not fear green hair or spiked chokers, or youth, or anyone else for their appearance.
I will apologize for my reaction, and hope that I hadn't hurt or exasperate him because of it.
I hope I get to come back and tell you all about it.