You know how every now and then, a normal person might notice somebody admiring them from afar?
Val is not a normal person.
Val is not even a loony old lady like one of my mom's friends, who used to say every month, when they met at the local Hardee's for breakfast, "That man over there is undressing me with his eyes." Which is still a form of admiration, I suppose, though careening down the Highway of Inappropriateness, fast approaching the Precipice of Perviness, about to plummet into the Chasm of Depravity.
Today, after a belated weekly shopping trip, I stopped by the bank to hit the drive-up ATM for the weekly cash allowance that sustains Thevictorians. I always lock T-Hoe's doors. Always. You never know what ne'er-do-wells lurk in the little towns surrounding Backroads. Always, that satisfying click of T-Hoe's automatic door locks makes me feel like I am accruing glowing hand-written (in cursive) testimonials on the permanent record of my life. So even though it was high noon, sunlight streaming through the clouds, several cars in the drive-thru lines, I locked the doors.
Two cars were ahead of me at the ATM. Normally, I hang back. No need to be a creeper, all up in somebody's bidness. But today, that would have made T-Hoe stick out in the curve of the parking lot entrance, blocking cars from approaching the three drive-thru lanes. Notice I didn't say "three drive-thru tellers," because during lunch time they only have one, who rotates among the three lanes.
There I sat, comfy on T-Hoe's leather seat, juggling my Walmart receipt and my bank card and the card with free money that we got from GM for the Acadia's window sticker being wrong that bought The Pony's going-to-college supplies, and phones for him and Genius, and several batches of weekly groceries so far. As the car in front of the car in front of me pulled away from the ATM, I set my purse over on the passenger seat so I could straighten T-Hoe's wheels a bit to pull forward, one car closer to my turn. As I turned my head back from the passenger seat to the wheel, something caught my attention out of the corner of my left eye.
IT WAS A BOY-MAN!
A BOY-MAN who might have been 18, might have been 28. Standing about 15 feet, no, more like 10 FEET from me, in the middle of the bushes and rock garden that divides the parking lot at the front of the bank from the drive-thru area behind it. Just standing there. Squared up to the side of T-Hoe, LOOKING AT ME! In the eye!
I gave a start and pulled forward a few inches. Like that would make him disappear. All it did was make him disappear from my peripheral vision. So I couldn't tell what he was doing unless I turned to gawk at him. Not gonna happen. I'd seen enough. He was tall. Portly. With hair to his shoulders, that color that's not brown, not blond, not gray. Kind of a non-color. And he had stubble on his chubby cheeks that matched his tresses. He was wearing a hoodie, but with the hood down. Let the record show that it was 78 degrees.
Logic told me that he was only waiting for a turn at the ATM. Without a car. Let the record further show that this is not exactly a residential area. There's a three-block-long graveyard across from the bank. And a divided highway behind it. And an intersection with traffic lights on one side, and a church whose steeple was struck by lighting (somebody needs to repent) on the other side. If BOY-MAN drove to the bank, he should have been in his car to go to the ATM. The only other explanation I have is that he opened a new account, and wanted to activate his card. One of the workers walks around there and has you try it the first time, the best I remember with my boys. BOY-MAN was alone. A loner!
I have to make two transactions to get my money out. I never get the receipt. I was discombobulated by the thought of BOY-MAN behind me. I couldn't see him in T-Hoe's mirrors, because I have to fold them in to get close enough to the side of the building where the ATM is ensconced. This is not a free-standing money-box. At first the ATM spit my card back at me. Twice. It's usually the opposite, and takes forever and several button-pushes to get it back. My heart was thumping in my ears. I snatched my cash quickly each time the machine spit it out, lest BOY-MAN grab my wrist with a yellow-taloned hand and wrest my riches from my grasp.
As I pulled away with the weekly Thevictorian allowance, I folded the mirrors back out. I saw BOY-MAN walking up to the ATM. I left T-Hoe's doors locked.
My skin is still crawling.