The old woman’s accent was that of a gypsy and her stringy, grey hair was long and dull…
The day was busy, but really no different than any other. It was warmer, and the bright blue sky now held thin, streaky clouds. The atmosphere was smiling as Paula began her morning.
She dropped off her rebates, bought red “Love” stamps and paid the postal clerk. She whisked away from the counter, “This should be a pretty easy day. I’ll sell those books at Viewpoint and get to Greenwood in plenty of time to shop a little before the mammo – cool…”
Paula wasn’t really worried about the mammogram. After all, the doctor said that she wasn’t ‘too concerned’. “The lump appears to be in response to all the hormonal changes you’ve been having.” No surprise – the migraines have had their tale to tell, too; perimenopause doesn’t discriminate: lumpy breasts, crazy periods, and out-of-control migraines seem ‘par for the course’, Paula thought as she strolled through the exit doors.
The post office’s parking lot was surrounded by bronze-colored block walls, more than 20 feet high; the effect was that of a castle’s courtyard inside it’s walled fortress. As Paula exited the post office, bright sunshine greeted her from above the steep walls. Her car was parked across the ‘courtyard’ and on the other side of the parking lot’s entrance; she checked for traffic and headed in her car’s direction.
A blaring car horn stunted Paula’s short walk to her car. Her eyes instantly checked the entrance lane, then scanned the lot’s two rows of parked cars: no danger. The car’s horn continued to blare and stop, blare and stop. Paula realized that the piercing sound was coming from a car, still parked, but with its backup lights on. The car had not moved yet.
Paula’s gaze met the driver’s. The incoming thought was one of aggressive hostility; Paula was taken aback by the vehement words coming from the driver: “You better get out of my way, NOW!!!” Paula noted the driver’s matted grey hair slap the glass as she continued to shout through her window.
“The last time I checked, pedestrians had the right-away!” Paula wrestled with her innate and immediate response to this ridiculous situation versus “just letting it be and going on”. After all, she didn’t have time for a silly confrontation.
The grey-haired driver continued her comments as she rolled down her window. The hostile driver’s words reminded Paula of a fortune teller’s voice; a quick chill brushed up her arms as she stood rooted to the warm blacktop of the parking lot. Paula noticed two men, a younger business-type, and an older, kind-looking older man two spots up from the ‘fortune driver’. She felt relief when she glanced over to find their conversation stalled as they watched the irate woman driver scream and shake her fists.
Paula didn’t want to get out of the fortune driver’s way – defiance and anger still clouded her skies – but she did step forward towards the two gentlemen so that she could speak to them. The ‘kind’ man was the first to speak, “Are you ok, do you know this woman?”
“No, I’ve never met her, can you be…” Paula’s words were cut short as the driver stopped within an inch or so from her lower thigh. Defiance was not replaced by, but was now sharing a narrow hall with fear, awe and another feeling of needing to move – NOW! Paula noticed beads of icy sweat on her arms and chest, and the patrons in the post office’s courtyard parking lot were now silent.
“You’re going to die!!” howled the gypsy-fortune-driver. Her hands, knurled and liver-spotted, were white on her car’s steering wheel.
Paula’s remaining defiance held its stand, “Is that a threat?”
No answer: the driver continued her death-grasp on the wheel, but her gaze had changed. Her eyes, steel-gray and intense through the windshield, kidnapped Paula’s view. The look, Paula realized, was now one of great contemplation, no less aggressive, but now…insistent. The feeling of needing to move was now more intense than ever; defiance was slightly fading, replaced now with what felt like raw survival.
“Please, can you call 911?” Paula asked the ‘kind’ man. She did not have her cell in hand, and as she turned to look back into the gypsy’s windshield, she found the gaze, still there and ready to assume its position/move. The sweaty chill returned.
Paula took three steps to the left of the driver’s car; the earlier feeling of NOW… was now. The engine growled, spun, and the car wheeled around, missing Paula’s right leg by inches again. As she noted the car’s plate number, she could still hear the gypsy’s raw words as her car spun out of the parking lot.
Paula thanked the gentlemen and nodded to two other patrons as they inquired about the strange incident. Heavy grey clouds now lay like wet blankets over the shining blue sky; the blue that was left poked through like shards of a broken bottle as Paula cautiously made her way back to her car.
Red “Love” stamps lie on the hot, black asphalt behind her.
*** This actually happened – yesterday. I did embellish a little, though… (Ha Ha) ****