I swerved into a parking spot leaving the highway behind, and the small compact car tailing me, rolled into the parking lot, too. He stopped four spots to my right, watching me, as I did the same thing through my tinted windows. I glanced over my shoulder, convinced the driver followed me to Starbucks.
I leapt from my car, pressed the lock button and crossed the lot to the front door. He did the same, although, I’m not sure if he locked his car. His fast gait hemmed in on me and I yanked the glass door wide and jumped inside, glad to hear the greeting from the lady making lattes. I rushed to the counter.
The man stood near me, his breathing heavy with a whisper of death. I ordered my coffee and headed to the ladies room, the 50 ounces of water from the day hydrating my body. Clap. Clap. Clap. The man resumed his chase, a slow methodical move that alarmed no one, but me. Twisting around the corner of the wall, I rushed toward the bathroom door, peering over my left shoulder, confident the attacker would barrel inside the ladies room with me.
But he halted, pushing the lever on the men’s room and he disappeared inside the cubicle. Was he waiting for me to exit the ladies room? Was I in danger? Would I ever get to leave the bathroom? I didn’t know the answers, questioning myself as I moved toward the toilet. Then I stubbed my toe, toppling over the seat, slamming my head in to the wall, a slow-motion scene with shouting and screaming and arms waving.
Now since I’m one of those visitors who never touches anything in a public bathroom, using my hands to brace myself, or using them to touch anything, to keep me from falling wasn’t an option. I rolled in midair, my left leg jamming into the porcelain and my yells went unheard. If that man had darted inside with me no one could have rescued me, because apparently the bathroom room is sound proof.
Upon moving from the room that attacked me, and back to the lobby of the coffee shop, to retrieve my coffee, I saw him again. The man now carried a cup of hot brew, and he left the building. Well goodness, he wasn’t stalking me after all!
But I had a bruise just the same. One on my head. And one on my leg. And still, through it all, I left with no extra germs, unless of course, you count the ones from the clerk who touched my paper cup, who breathed on my coffee as she streamed the cream, who probably spit as she spoke.
I wonder, does she touch the door handle in the bathroom, or the toilet seat handle, or the trash can lid? Oh my, I may never be able to go inside of Starbucks again, unless I wear gloves and a mask. But if I do that, someone may think I’m stalking them, instead!