Walking. Dark alley. Alone. And the only thing I see is the gleaming rays of the sodium street light. I didn’t notice someone was there… until that someone was gone.
I was on my way home that night. Tired, from long day’s work. And it’s time to go back home and straight to bed.
It’s a usual routine to drop by the nearest bakeshop to grab some hot bread and a bottle of ice cold soda right after I arrive at that familiar street corner where the cab driver let me alight. I spent a minute or two, trying to leave and forget work as I am nearing home a couple of steps from where I was.
Until I decided to continue the short journey home. When it’s the right time to move on, I turn all my attention to where I was going. I saw ahead that sodium street light.
It became a normal scene every night. Tired, from long day’s work, it looked like the same all the time, in front of me and it was totally imprinted in my brain. Tonight and those way back were all familiar. Until that very different night.
There was a man, under the sodium street light.
I was thinking he was waiting for someone, probably one of the neighbors, he stood there with his right foot resting against the brick wall. His left swinging along the very soft humming. Both hands in his side pockets.
I slowly walked and made sure my footsteps were as invisible as the night sky, but I stood slightly stiff with his so sudden, soft “Hey.”
I passed by him with a multitude of steps, almost on a brisk walk just to get rid of his sight, or even his whole presence, there, at the dark street corner. It was never my intention to look back. But I did.
I could still hear his soft humming, the song that was not new. I’ve heard it somewhere. I guess.
Not to stutter, I tried to throw my lines under my breath before completely turning around and speak back to him. I felt I was rude not greeting him when he tried to talk to me when I was on my way back home. I was bad, I thought.
“By the way, I…” I really tried my best to have that thrown at him. But all of the sudden, I was totally cut off. Completely silent.
At the space where he was, the very same space I thought where he stood under the sodium street light, was left empty. The man was gone. Just. like. that.
I returned my pace hurriedly and force myself not to look back. Don’t look back, I said to myself.
My sweat was as cold as the feeling of that ice cold Coca-Cola I’ve had earlier. The keys rattled inside my bag; opened the gate, and terribly slammed it close.
Shut the front door.
Never again I would look back. He was not there. I swear.
But the humming still was.•