Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Creep

I'm startled when I see the man out the front window. I'm expecting that at any second Eleanor will walk to our house and up the front stairs, coming home from the school bus.

He's tall and gangly, this man; accompanied by darkness. It's in his face, which is shadowed by a navy or black hood. It's in his hands, tightly gripping a chain leash, against which a brown and black doberman strains. It's in the inward curve of his posture, which reminds me of a trench-coated highschooler, plotting his attack for months in a dingy basement before bringing the gun to school. Everything about him screams deviant.

He's walking toward our house, toward the corner that Eleanor should occupy at this very moment.

Wait here, I say quickly to Sylvia and Eli, I don't like the looks of this guy.

I shut the front door behind me, cutting off their questions in mid-sentence: What guy, Mama? Why don't you like the look...

Impossibly, in two seconds, hundreds of questions flash in my mind. Has he been watching her? Where would he take her? How many hours of daylight remain so we can search for her before it gets too dark? Do I call 911 first, or a neighbor to take care of Sylvia & Eli while I chase after him in my van?

I bound down the stairs and reach the corner just as he's walked past it.

There's no sign of Eleanor yet. Her bus is evidently running late.

I am relieved.

Then, with growing alarm, I watch the man as he walks his dog up the stairs, and enters the house next door to ours.

I see now: he is our new neighbor.

My plan is to introduce myself to this man, to bring him a plate full of cookies, or a loaf of homemade bread. I want to look him in the eye. Perhaps I'll find no darkness there after all.

(I never should have read The Shack).


Anonymous said...

i think that's an excellent plan. a new neighbor should always earn a plate of cookies, no matter what the circumstances.

jen said...

this was an excellent post.

Little Monkies said...

Oh girl. Replacing one for the other, eh? First one grumpy, this one creepy.

Keep me posted, PLEASE.

Alicia said...

I'm glad the bus stop is just outside your door and that you watch so closely. Let's hope he is just into grunge and not really a deviant. Either way, I like your idea of introducing yourself.

bgirl said...

cookies, and a strong smile as you look him in the eyes...eager to hear what becomes of this stranger.

Seattle Mamacita said...

I've seen him too...Is he related to the couple that lived there before? Either way I think introducing yourself might make him less creepy...maybe.

Kendra Joy said...

This post was ... well ... CREEPY! I hope he turns out to be just a good story, not a truly disconcerting nightmare.

Lori said...

All I can say is always, always, always trust your instincts. You can be friendly and still remain cautiously on guard. Which I know you will.

Looking him in the eye is a good idea. Start practicing your, "I'm being friendly but if you don't think I am watching you you've got another thing coming" look.

Eva said...

Sometimes living in a society is overrated.

Anonymous said...

Boy, this creeped me out. I hope that he smiles really big when he sees your plate of cookies... Maybe he needs someone just like you in his life. Or maybe you just need to let him know that You Are Watching.

Neighbors... can't live with 'em... can't live without 'em... What to do?

During our first, childless sojourn in Seattle several decades ago, we actually lived in a triplex where we managed to share the laundry room with two other apartment dwellers & never had a conversation other than "Oh, you're here. I'll come back another time." Seriously.

We've been more consciously neighborly this time around. And lucky, too, for the most part. Our little block has a whole group of twenty-somethings who have regular parties & also parties to plan the parties. I can't do that much CROWDINESS, so don't participate. But there are lovely folks my age to have chats with as we rake our leaves... and our wonderful Indian neighbor who feeds us treats and GAVE ME her extra pan after teaching me to make rice the good way.

But there's also the odd couple next door who garden with tweezers (really, just about), comment on what we're doing or not doing in our pitiful garden plot, and seem to judge my every move, including trying to stop me from exterminating the flock of starlings that were living in my attic and sounding like a Steven King novel happening directly over my bed...

i digressed.... let me know what happens with the guy next door & the cookies.