I know that I am only 24 years old and many of my readers have decades of life experience on me. That having been said, I have lived my fair share of life, much younger than many people do, and much more than many will. Through experiences good and bad, I always come away with a lesson. The most important of these lessons is to always trust my instincts with people- I am rarely led astray.
Sitting at my local cafe drinking my afternoon coffee with the beautiful sun lighting my skin, I am approached by a well dressed, middle aged Greek man who asks to sit. This is nothing out of the ordinary, and I was in the mood for conversation so I said yes. He introduces himself and we begin a small conversation in Greek before he tells me that he would like to practice his English. We switch to English and because I am more comfortable in my native tongue, I am able to use the rest of my brain to do what it does best- observe.
Firstly, I notice he is constantly scanning the cafe area with darting eyes. This strikes me as odd, and I file it away for future reference. Ahhh, he must have a wife and not want to be seen. So I interrupt him and ask him if he is married. “No, no, I am single” he reassures me. As he continues rambling, he invites me to join him for a drink at the bar around the corner. Again, this strikes me as odd- we are at a perfectly good cafe, and the fact he is nervous here makes me suspicious.
After a total of 4 to 5 minutes he excuses himself and says he must return to work. “Promise me we can have a drink tomorrow… 6 or 7 pm, okay? You must promise!” Normally I would tell this guy where to stick it, but the men of Greece are naturally friendlier and like I said, this is nothing out of the ordinary. “I promise nothing, but I am living here for now, I am sure you will see me again.” This pleases him and he is on his merry way.
The next afternoon I see him driving down the street on his moped wearing one helmet, and with another on the back. Real cute- he thinks he’s gonna get me to ride on his crotch rocket? (Pun completely intended) Sure enough, he drives up to me “ahhh come- we will go for a ride, slowly slowly, I will not go fast!”
I immediately make up my mind about him and decide that I 1) do not want to ride this joke of a moped 2) do not trust this guy as far as I can throw him 3) would be altogether happier if he never talked to me again. However, in a town of 1500 people, it’s best not to make enemies within two weeks of living there. I politely refuse his offer and tell him I am otherwise occupied, but I would see him around.
The next 3 nights ensue in this same fashion, loser on moped or loser on foot, asking me for a drink, a coffee, a walk- just to hang out. I get the creeps from this guy but have no real reason to tell him to shove it. Instead I found myself taking side streets or running into shops and out the back of them to avoid this guy- I couldn’t stand the sight of him, much less the sight of him looking at me.
Today I was with my friend Nicos when “Moped Man” drove by us and beeped his horn. I did the courteous thing and gave him a head nod. Then Nicos said to me “you know this man?” I said “yes! this is the weird guy I told you I have been running from.” He looked at me with what can only be described as disappointment
“Brandy, you must stay away from this man, he is from an outside village and I do not know him.” Later, over dinner, Nicos mentioned to his mother we have seen this “malakas” downtown, and asks her if he is an okay guy. She looked at Nicos- looked at me- crossed herself, and then tells me this man was released from prison not too long ago where he was serving time for raping a young girl.
I didn’t mean to, but I broke out into a smile. I silently thanked my instincts for guiding me correctly again, and double thanked myself for always packing my switchblade. After dinner I decided it was time to head home, after all, it was nearly 1am. I hit the main road and started towards my flat. Soon I heard the piss poor puttering of a scooter, great…
Sure enough, it’s him. Before he comes to a stop I have my knife out of my purse and in the sleeve of my hoodie. “Brandy- why you are going home so early? Let us take a ride on my bike- slowly slowly.” I know I could have just said “not tonight” and walked the 3 blocks home in complete safety –probably– but every part of my body wanted nothing more than to lunge on this man.
“Turn your bike off so you can hear me” I said to him. This idiot, thinking I was going to negotiate the terms of our “slow ride” turned his bike off and stared at me like a little puppy. “I know who you are and what you have done. If you EVER approach me again I will dig this into you before you can blink.” (enter switchblade here)
From puppy dog face to deer in the headlights- he gave me a look of acknowledgement, turned on the moped and sped away.
Tomorrow has not yet come, so I cannot say if this method was particularly effective, but it gave me a sense of empowerment, it gave him the knowledge that I would like nothing more than to stand over his corpse, and I think it gave us both an understanding.
I am well aware that my actions might be considered brash by some and downright foolish by others. Until you walk in my shoes- you will not have my feet.
Is the moral of this story to carry around a switchblade and confront convicted rapists in the middle of the night? No. Nor is it to always be watching your back at every second of the day and night for some would-be assassin. It is simply to trust your instincts -unless you have really bad instincts, then you should just stay home.