I was bored so I decided to go shopping, check out what’s on offer, January is after all a sale month. A month-long shopping extravaganza for die-hard shopaholics. I am not one of them. I don’t like crowds to begin with. But crowds that mad frenzy consist of mostly women are dangerous. They are possessed. Eyes vacant, hard determined look on their faces, blindly moving forward, always in a hurry, ready for anything. Scary.
But yesterday I thought I will gamble my chance of being trampled over or get killed and headed for the city. I found the place surprisingly quiet (quiet for this time of the year) I could navigate the streets without so much trouble and able to browse in the shops in peace. Maybe because it was a working day. I will never dream of coming here during the weekends. I’ve learned my lessons.
From between clothes racks patiently scrutinizing every item on sale for fun, I looked up and terror gripped me by the throat I could hardly breathe. Directly opposite me was a tall woman dressed in full black with long dark straight hair and a complexion devoid of any drop of blood she was ash grey. Compare to her, Morticia is a joke.
Look, I love Gothic. I dress in Gothic style once in a while, one look at my blog page and you will know I’m a fan of the dark side. Edgar Allan Poe will always be my hero and Stephen King will always be my favourite author, but this woman is something else. What she is goes beyond fashion statement. It’s not the fact that I can’t place her ethnic origin, or her age or the ethereal way she moves (there is nothing ethereal about her physically for she’s massive) but the feelings she evokes, (in me) the sense of something silent but imminently dangerous like a poisonous cobra poised to strike if provoke or a highly trained assassin who is not your enemy but don’t stand on her way. The feeling of if she chooses, she can harm you in thousands of different ways was at that moment undeniably real.
She didn’t even glance my way. She proceeded in her unhurried manner, a melancholic look on her bloodless face and I was scared. So scared I avoided being in the same aisle with this being. As I watched her glided away, her long black pleated taffeta skirt softly blowing behind her I thought: Who is she and why she looks like that and why I am scared?
I tried to forget what I saw and went in and out of the shops to calm myself and I almost succeeded when coming out of a sports store I saw a man holding something I cannot decipher. He seemed disoriented, looking for something, gone this way, doubled back and went to the opposite direction just to come back again in the middle of the square. You would probably not believe this but he looked like he just stepped out from the set of the Highlander movie. He could be the perfect antagonist to Christopher Lambert. If he would reach under his long black leather jacket and produce a sword and start hacking people’s heads off, it would not surprise me at all. He was dressed for the part perfectly, down to his Doc Marten’s black boots, spiked dog collar and Mohawk hairdo. Like the woman, it was not a fashion statement but a way of life. Simply being themselves. My companion said, perhaps they were together and he was looking for her. I told him that whatever it was, I’m out of there.
We agreed to leave the main street and headed to the small cobbled alleyways to drink coffee somewhere, anywhere.
We like little authentic secluded places to eat, like home restaurants managed by a family or artsy small (trendy) cosy places with limited menu consist of unusual combinations of healthy alternatives fresh ingredients. Combing the establishments on both sides of the street, I saw a door propped open by a bistro chair next to a single table standing on the narrow sidewalk the two items teetering on the edge of the street. I went in and saw that the place contained nothing but a small counter at the end and a couple of tables and chairs on my left standing on a platform leading to a narrow staircase upstairs.
There was an Italian looking lady at the counter wearing a black t-shirt with the restaurant logo on the front and black slacks, a black apron tied neatly around her middle. I smiled at her and said hello. She didn’t return my greeting so I was forced to come closer. What followed was according to my companion more disturbing than the bloodless woman in black and the highlander guy altogether.
The lady stared ahead of her (above our heads) vacantly, unshed tears adorning her sad, sad eyes. She rocked herself back and forth and didn’t react to anything I said, as if we were not there at all. She just continued staring into space oblivious of what’s happening around her. I heard muffled voices up the stairs but couldn’t make out what was being said. Slowly, I walked backwards keeping my eyes on her somewhat confused and for the first time in my life speechless. I didn’t know what to think or make of the situation. Halfway to the door an Italian looking guy came down the stairs and greeted us as if there was nothing wrong, he didn’t even look at the catatonic woman at the counter. He told us that they were about to close for the day and they were out of provision. He smiled and excused himself, closing the door after us.
We walked silently to the car forgetting we were in dire need of refreshments. We didn’t talk about the incidents till after we came home and even then both of us have no clue where to begin. Whenever I think about what I’ve witnessed that day, it’s like recalling fragments of different films I have forgotten I’ve seen in the past. It’s so unreal I can’t believe it really happened. I can think of hundreds of different scenarios and invent thousands of different stories about those people but the truth is I don’t know the truth, I can only guess. And maybe it is better so.