It’s strange how suspicion works. Or how fear does. How one person walking down the street behind you can be scarier than another. Or how a slow-driving car seems just too close. How one night, the street where you live is darker than usual, colder, the shadows more pronounced. I think about it a lot – which is probably part of the problem. I’m taken aback by how carefree I’ve been in recent weeks and how suddenly scared I am now, of the person across the street, of that car, of those shadows. When seemingly nothing has changed.
Often I psych myself out by listening to too much true crime and watching too much TV; too many cop shows, too many terrible ends met too soon. And then sometimes, it’s just the day I’ve had.
On Saturday I have a bad day, a day that shoots my nerves to pieces. So when an old lady approaches me outside my flat I jump out of my skin. I’m suspicious of the way she’s talking to me – something about her roundabout tale, the way she’s giving me too much information, luring me in. She wants me to help her get something heavy from her car boot and I immediately see myself bundled up inside of it. She doesn’t tell me what the object is, just that it’s too heavy for her to lift. Over my racing thoughts I hear myself agreeing, but as she opens the boot I look around wildly for her accomplice.
It’s a bookcase. Too heavy for one person to lift. We slide it out before lifting it together and placing it gently on the pavement. She tells me to be careful of my fingers. I ask if it’s ok there and she says it is. She asks if I live around here and I point up at the flat, slowly backing towards the gate as she thanks me. She leans on the bookcase and I wonder what she’s going to do with it now. But I don’t stick around to find out.
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