Oh my god, my feet hurt.
I exited out of the subway station—each step more painful than the one before in my high heels. After a night out dancing with friends, I wanted nothing more than to get to my apartment and pass out in my comfy bed.
As I walked along the sidewalk, making my way home, I started to notice a shadow on the ground coming closer next to mine. I walked a little slower, thinking that maybe I was in the way of someone who wanted to pass by me. But instead I got tapped on the shoulder.
“Hello,” said the stranger—a potbellied, bearded man who looked like he was in his 40s. I stared blankly at him as I continued walking. I didn’t want to interact with anyone. I just wanted to get home and sleep. The man followed along with my pace and then suddenly grabbed my hand and shook it.
“I saw you from across the street and I wanted to say hi,” the man said. “You are really pretty.”
“I’m sorry. I just want to get home,” I said, pulling my hand away. I wanted to end all conversation right there. The stranger had a slightly manic look in his eyes that made me feel a little nervous—like he might do something unpredictable.
“It’s okay. I just want to talk. It’s okay,” replied the man with a smile. He stayed by my side, in step with my strides. Only a block from my apartment building, I wanted to speed away, but I continued walking at a steady pace so he wouldn’t think I was panicking and attempt to stop me.
I finally reached the front of my building and walked quickly up the steps. The stranger stared at me as I put my keys in the door before he turned to leave. I was relieved he didn’t try to enter the building with me.
“Good night,” said the man. “I’ll see you around.” He walked away, back into the night. I rushed through the door. The prospect of seeing that guy again late at night sent chills down my spine. I haven’t seen him since and I hope I never meet him again.