It's unusual for me to be frightened. Not because I'm especially brave, but more because I'm not one for taking risks. There'll be no bungee jumping, paragliding or skydiving for this little black duck.
Calculated risk I'm comfortable with. At least - calculated risk where the risk is predetermined by myself to be very low. I'll happily fight an opponent at karate (knowing I'm wearing a chest guard, mitts, mouth guard and shin guards), I'll loop the loop on a rollercoaster (knowing that death by rollercoaster is not a common event), hell, I'll even occasionally NOT FLOSS. I am woman, hear me meow. This afternoon, though, I was genuinely afraid.
I was at the movies with Fatty, my husband. As he juggled drink, chips and tickets, I wafted off across the foyer to use the bathroom before the film began. Trudging ahead of me was a young man with scruffy hair. His jeans were so long that they trailed along the ground, obscuring all view of his shoes. He turned to look at me as I fell in behind him, both of us heading down the hallway to the toilets.
We came level with the women's facilities, and the man turned to look at me again, this time more of a stare than a look. I ducked my head and headed into the women's, noting with a feeling of disquiet that there was no main door - only a corridor that hooked around. Just before I disappeared from view, I glanced down the hall again. The long-jeaned youth was standing just outside the men's room, his eyes accusatory and suspicious, pinning me with a glare of pure malice. It was evident to me at this moment that the guy was not well.
The women's toilets were empty. For some reason, despite my unease, I went ahead and entered a cubicle. I was listening all the while for the sound of footsteps, knowing that if this mentally-ill man tried to harm me, there would be no-one to hear me yell. I was across a carpeted foyer, along a hallway and around a corner from my husband. This knowledge did nothing to calm me.
I was out of the cubicle in record time, washed my hands nervously and sped back to Fatty. I told him the story as we walked to our movie. I explained how threatened I had felt. I had to force myself not to twist around when, in the almost deserted movie theatre, someone came and sat in the seat just behind me. Fatty replied airily, "Well, really, you could be killed in lots of places." Thank you, my sweet.
So all's well that ends well (as they say), and I was not stabbed to death by a psychopath. It's all good. I'm happy. I presume my family are happy to still have me around. It's bound to be a relief for the cinema cleaners, too. But if I should fail to post for more than a week, you'll know what's happened.
I'll be in a psychiatric ward on account of my persistent delusion that someone is trying to kill me in a public toilet.