Hello. The greeting from the open car door reaches me as a disembodied voice, the shadowy figure of the driver still in his car.
I have no patience for pleasantries, not after what this jerk’s done to me this evening. “Who are you?” A command as much as a question.
The shadowy figure in the car stiffens, and I see his hands raise with open palms to the level of his fedora. I’m — sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.
I point past the car’s rear passenger side, in the general direction of the county road, the city beyond that, the highway. “You’ve been following me, ever since I got off the highway. Don’t you lie to me! I took all these shortcuts, took a few wrong turns as well, just to confirm that I wasn’t imagining things. There’s no way you could have gone the exact same route as me, unless you were determined to stay on my tail.”
Now I point behind me, to my house. “Here’s where the journey ends. Here on Green Valley Lane, this is where I live. I’m home, and I don’t want to be bothered by you anymore. So tell me what it is you want, and be done with it!”
Hands still raised, the shadowy driver tells me his story, fedora bobbing up and down with his words. He lives in a small town about 20 minutes up the county road, he tells me. Says he saw me pulling out of subdivision the other day, said he liked my car, so much so that he recognized it on the highway that evening. Tells me he’d been thinking about buying a house in the subvisision, but didn’t trust what the salespeople were telling him. They gave him references, he says, but he didn’t trust them either, heard they got deals from the builders. Claims that when he saw me that evening, he came up with the idea of talking to me, getting an unsolicited opinion. But since he didn’t know exactly where I lived, the only way to find me was to follow.
“Really.” I scan my memory for any evidence that doesn’t fit this remarkable yet mundane story. Point back beyond the car. “When I went the wrong way, off the county road. There was a time I pulled over, and you went past me. Why’d you do that?”
The shadowy figure clears its throat. I didn’t know what you were doing. Where you were going — it didn’t make no sense. So I said screw it, and that’s when I drove past you. But then, I realized I didn’t know where I was. I was lost.
“GPS?” I feel like a ham actor playing a prosecuting attorney.