I crossed what is a main arterial road going through my neighbourhood as I headed to the market – part of my Saturday routine.
I did notice a man just standing on a street corner but I didn’t pay much attention and I didn’t look at him. I did, however, feel him staring at me as I rounded the corner and walked up the street. The feeling when you know you are being watched. I felt it but I didn’t give it a second thought.
I made a beeline for my favourite little artisan cake and quiche stall, where I bought my usual. Just as I was taking my change, there that man from the street corner was, right at my elbow, where he proceeded to say to me “that’s a big breakfast you’ll be having!”. He said it with a smile and a middle class accent. He was middle aged, probably early 50s and there was something rather cloying and creepy about him.
I gave him a fleeting look of contempt before swiftly taking off. He was following in my direction so I walked around the market to the boris bike dock. I pulled out my fob (to unlock the bike) and in a very short space of time I was riding away, heading to Sainsbury’s for more shopping.
I don’t read too much into these things. It could have been coincidence (that he’d decided to start talking to me). But I distinctly remember his eyes following me as I’d rounded that corner.
It was surprising, regardless. I’m hardly some young queen whinnying my way around town, the sort that predatory older men might more usually be drawn to. I’m in the summer of life – my next big milestone will be 40 (though not for some years I hasten to add). These days I’m likely to be found wearing a high-viz jacket and a cycle helmet, rather than skin-tight jeans and tight fitting t-shirts.
The joy of residing in the inner city; no shortage of weirdos.