It's late. Really late. Late as in "I should have been home hours ago because I have work in the morning". But here I sit. On the bus traveling towards the part of town where my mailbox grows.
It's dark outside as well, and the bus is lit up so I can see my own reflection in the windows. For a while I do faces towards myself because I am overly tired and there for a bit hyper, but then I notice there are a few people still out this late and they're all looking at me from the streets as the bus goes by. I decide to stop making faces.
It had been a great night. Nikita had sent out a mass text to the whole gang that read "Get yourself to my place tonight, you sissies, for a movie night. I have drinks. Bring snacks!".
We were 7 people, the usual gang, and we watched Disney's 'Tangled' and 'Toy Story 3'. Drinks where downed and snacks where tossed and eaten. Laughs were had, backs were rubbed and Garry was late. All in the natural order of the movie night.
When we'd eventually managed to watch the films and looked at our watches, it was all ready after one. I quickly got up and went for my jacket as Per and Garry decided that it was time to leave as well, but before we could even get out the door, the time was after two, which is custom with the gang. You think you're leaving at a certain time but in reality you won't be able to leave until one hour after the time you thought you were leaving. Sounds complicated, yes, but in reality… Non of us really know what happens to that one hour. It simply just… Disappears somehow.
But eventually Per, Garry and I were on the bus leaving the movie night. Per got off after 15 minutes. Garry got off after 25.
Here I am after 40 minutes, traveling on my own towards my house in a lit up bus in the middle of the night. I live almost at the edge of town so the bus is usually empty when my stop comes up, as it is now.
I hear the ding and the woman's voice naming my stop, so I press the button and stand up to walk towards the doors.
Oh, wait, I'm not alone it seems. A girl, that looks like she could be my age has stood up before me and is already by the door when I get there. I've never seen her before, but then again, the area where I live is a big suburb and I only moved there five months ago.
As a normal Swedish citizen I stand a couple more meters away from her than is necessary politeness and I don't look at her more than to acknowledge here presence But it's late and I feel friendly so I actually take in her appearance.
She looks kind of pretty, I must admit. A normal girl in her twenties, lightly dressed, probably come from a party, long brown hair and an eco bag. You know the kind that was formerly only used by older people to take with them when they do their grocery shopping so that they wouldn't have to buy new plastic ones every time. They are simple, brown and made from some ecological fabric. Now a days though, they seem to have become some form of a fashion statement for the environment and I can bet that most girls will have them as their beach bags this summer.
The bus begins to slow down for the stop and the girl looks quickly up at me. I give her a small smile before I turn away. She does the same and then the doors open and we both get off.
She walks a few paces in front of me as the bus drives past us and we're left in the night with only the odd street light high above us.
When you get off the bus you can either go left or right. My house has me going to the left and the girl seems to be heading in the same direction and we cross the road.
Now comes the long straight path before I make another left turn. There are many streets leading away from this one, both to the right and left, filled with houses and a few apartment buildings. The girl does not turn onto any one of them and so we're walking in the silence and the dark, with me a few meters behind her… Looking like I'm following her?
Do I look like I'm following her? I slow down so that I'm not walking to close to her. There is now the space of one and a half car between us as we continue to walk. I don't want it to look like I'm following her so from here on, everything I now do I have to think about really carefully because the slightest move can mean that I'm a rapist. Oh yes, I've read the magazines in the waiting rooms. '10 signs to know he's a rapist', I've read it, but as I walk in the dark a few paces behind the girl; everything I remember from that magazine is blown out of my head and I don't remember if putting my hands in my pockets gives of a creeper-signal or not.
What am I supposed to do with my hands? Do I risk putting them in my pockets? Maybe it works if I put them in my back pockets- no that's uncomfortable. Do I fold my arms over my chest or does that make me look like I'm cold? At this point I briefly look up and see that the girl has turned around and not only sees me as a man walking a car and a half behind her but a man walking a car and a half behind her flailing his arms around trying to find a position to put them in. She turns back around and starts walking again, this time clinging a little bit to her eco bag.
I notice something on the bag, it's some sort of text on there and I can barely make it out. Now I'm intrigued, I have to know what it says on that bag. It's probably a cheeky comment or a quote from something. I begin to walk a little faster so that I can see the bag more clearly, the distance between us closing in as my thoughts on not looking like a creeper are forgotten and my curiosity for the text on her bag grows stronger.
I can just make out a "can't" on the bag, but "can't" what? Can't touch this? Can't buy me love? I have to know what the bag says, so without realizing it, I am now closer to her than I was before, maybe only half a car away.
I can finally see that the bag says "The club can't handle me". I wonder if this is true or if she means it sarcastically. If it where me it would have been sarcastically, or actually, I think it would be true. I'm rubbish at clubs, they wouldn't be able to handle my awkward presence.
I look up and see how close I have gotten. How did this happen? I begin to slow down again. I'm lucky she hasn't turned around yet- No wait, she's turned her head slightly around now. She looks at me with a frown and then looks back in front of her. I wonder why she doesn't walk faster. Maybe she doesn't think I'm a creeper? I mean, I look innocent enough. People always say I have a baby face. Then again, people could think that just because I look young and innocent, that it would be like my cover for my true creepy raper personality.
Why has this girl not turned on to any of the aligning streets yet? There are many of them both going right and left, but right not it seems that she's heading in the exact same direction as me. What if she's actually going to the same building? But I've never seen her enter any of the other apartments before, tough I hardly see anyone else around our building. At times it feels like me and my dad are the only ones living there if it wasn't for the various thumps and chats on the stairs we hear through the door and walls.
Again, she looks back at me. I try not to look like a creep and yet I feel I fail with every second as she turns forward and takes out her phone. Oh good lords, what if she's going to call the police? I haven't done anything! People don't call the police unless someone has done something, right? No, of course they do. I hope she's only taking her phone out to call a friend or pretend that she's calling someone, that's what I was told growing up: "If you think someone is following you, take out your phone so it looks like you're talking to someone." I always asked why that was helpful I mean, even if I was talking to someone on the phone, clearly a creeper could still attack without anyone else physically being there. The person on the phone wouldn't be able to do something right away. Maybe it does scare off a few bastards. Clearly not myself for I continue walking behind her though now with the urge to scream "I'm not a creep, I just want to go home". I resist the urge to do so.
She is now even walking straight towards the entry of my building. Why did she have to do that? If I enter the building after her I am positive she will kick me or pepper spray me and scream for everyone to wake up.
We're almost there now and various scenarios are playing in my head as she gets up right next to my door and when it looks as if she's about to enter; she continues walking. Passing the entrance and turning the corner down the street of a crossroad around the corner of my apartment. She walks on, clearly heading anywhere except my door. She doesn't live in my building. Not even on the same street.
I breath a sigh of relief as I take out the keys from my pocket and begin opening the door to the entrance.
I turn my head around and watch the girl disappear behind the houses and into the dark of the night.
That's when it hits me.
Why didn't I just stop walking and stand still for a while at the bus stop?