paranoid, not really.
just careful, you know?
yeah, isn't that how each girl should be?
absolutely! or else who'd we have to blame?
ourselves of course.
there are times in a girl's life when she feels threatened walking home on her own and wonders if she's losing her mind. when she has a visual of herself violently knocking the side of her head trying to knock some sense into herself, "don't be paranoid."
but hey, this is Singapore, it's safe and thankfully, there are lights everywhere.
so it's 0100, i've gone home later than that before.
i pay the bill, i walk out of the restaurant, take a look around to see who's lurking, cross the road and start on my way back to the hotel. the road i take is a very quiet one. many trees, many shadows. i walk past a megamall that's a quiet shell of its day personality. i walk briskly, and my ears are perked up. i pick up footsteps behind me, i think nothing of it. after quite a distance, the footsteps are coming closer. still, i think nothing of it, two people can come from two different places and have the same destination in mind, right in the same moment.
but it's just not okay anymore when the faster you walk, the faster those echoing footsteps are.
i walk in the light, i come to a junction at the bottom of the slope. ahead is a pathway which is lovely in the day, shaded by low trees. but now, it's just too dark for my comfort. i decide i'd cross the road where the pathway is brightly lit and unobstructed by trees. to get to the hotel, i am crossing the road a little too early. at the side of my eye, i can actually see the man in a red polo shirt and jeans and his body language is strange, it is unsure, hesitant - worse, his footsteps slow down when i cross the road. is she going to enter that serviced apartments?
when it's obvious i have no such intention though i sure as hell make it look like i am heading that way, his footsteps hasten again.
ok, at this point of time, it just gets bloody hell creepy.
sometimes you think you are being followed, but you are able to ascertain very quickly that you are not and feel absolutely nothing thereafter. after 5-7 minutes, you're still unsure? chances are, you are right, you are being followed.
i enter a small road towards the hotel which leads to a dead end. i walk up the slope briskly and he walks faster than ever. i avoid the pathway altogether and walk on the road itself, it's so brightly lit by rows of lamp posts on either sides of the road.
the narrowing gap between us just makes my hair stand on end.
i tell myself, maybe Dali, just maybe, he's a hotel patron too. and you know what, if you are, muthafucka, it's not FUNNY scaring someone like that.
i walk faster up the slope, enter the hotel, glance over at the concierge, smile at the receptionist then find myself horrified that this stranger walks into the hotel. he asks the concierge something inaudible.
i head quickly to the elevators and hope i do not have to share a lift with him. the elevator door opens, i step inside and try to close the doors with one tap.
and then he appears.
a short tanned man with wavy hair and large glasses. late 20s - early 30s. long lashes, bushy eyebrows, shifty eyes. oh, and luscious lips. cant forget that.
now, i simply CANNOT enter a lift, OBVIOUSLY look at this guy and close the doors on him, what if he really is a guest of the hotel?
i hit open and the doors retract back to welcome him into the elevator capsule. happily for me, it's the see through elevator that all of the world can look into.
i smile and ask, "which floor?"
i think, "what the fuck?" and i hope to God for his sake that he really stays here or i'm whacking the back of his head with my bag.
it's almost like he doesn't know what floor he stays on. he looks at all available floors, scans all the floors quickly, lands his eyes on the top row and says, "twelve. twelve." like it's a fucking relief he got his mojo back.
and i start thinking, "great Dali, great risk you're taking allowing this freak into the lift with you when there are three other lifts."
but instead, i say "ok", hit twelve and stay by the door. he walks in to the back of the elevator where the glass windows are. both of us have our arms crossed. i pretend i am relaxed.
i feel his eyes on me, he's watching me.
"are you afraid?"
and i'm thinking "WHAT THE FUCK?!"
the fucker smiles.
"excuse me?" i ask.
"are you afraid?" he repeats.
i pretend i haven't a clue and raise my eyebrows questioningly.
"are you afraid because i am following you?"
"i am not afraid, goodness, no!" and start laughing it off dismissively like i never thought he was following me in the first place. i am pretty sure i had not been obvious except for walking briskly and looking out for traffic.
ding. it's my floor, i say goodnight and leave the elevator. i hope he picked 12 because he's really staying on that floor, not that he was observing which floor i'd get off on or choose the floor after mine and run down the stairs quickly to my floor.