We lived in the same neighborhood, so of course I worried about running into him or just seeing his car drive by on the road.
I was running errands with my kids – distracted by them, focused on the task at hand. Walking down the aisle of the drug story contemplating buying candy just for the hell of it.
I rounded the corner and there he stood.
All the clichés are true. I froze in the spot. Time stood still. I couldn’t utter a sound. His daughter was with him. My children were with me.
In my head were a million and one things I wanted to say. You liar. You bastard. You ruined my life, my family. I hate you. Why can’t you just disappear off the face of the earth? Why were you even born?
Instead I stood there like a fool, and what I remember is the smirk on his face. He was enjoying my discomfort. He realized he still had power over me.
I don’t know if it was that or the children, but something released. I pleasantly addressed his daughter as the children began to chat. I nodded an acknowledgement to him, and hurried my children along with the mom exhortation of “we have so much to do”.
I paid for the items in my cart. I walked my kids to the car, stowing bags and children in their assigned locations. The whole time wondering how I was calmly going about these routine activities. Angered by a God who lets men like him walk free. Smirking at me.
I wanted to shout to everyone I saw, “Don’t go in there. Watch out for yourselves and your children. There’s a rapist in there.” But that would have been inappropriate, and I’d have been viewed as the crazy one, giving him even more fodder for that smirk.
So I went on my way. I finished my errands. I helped the kids with homework, and cooked dinner, and cleaned the kitchen, and gave baths, and read stories, and tucked little bodies into beds with prayers and kisses. And I tried not to think about that smirk – not to denigrate myself for letting him/it get to me.
I crawled into bed, mentioning the encounter to my husband – downplaying it as I always did. I was over reacting. No big deal, really.
I found a new drugstore. I didn’t go back to that one for a long time, and even still over 10 years later that smirk is the first thing I think of when I walk by that store.
linking up at Write on Edge