It was a foggy October morning, but the weather wasn’t unpleasant. I was wearing bright pink socks, which, as a girl who usually wears black from head to toe, was a change. I didn’t mind it though. I was feeling kind of pink. Every time I looked down, I was reminded that today might be a good day.
Unfortunately, I work in a town full of bratty kids, careless mothers, and creepy old dudes. Even if my socks were pink, nothing could protect me from the citizens of this filthy town. That is, nothing except for my cynical nature and ability to view boring situations as more interesting than they actually are.
I noticed him sitting outside in his car before I opened the front doors. He’s a regular at the library and he didn’t usually bother me, so I overlooked the fact that he was staring me down as I moved around inside the building. I unlocked the doors, not knowing that the next few minutes would make me wish I had kept them locked, moved heavy furniture in front of them, and gotten a baseball bat ready to defend myself.
The man swaggered over to the desk, sizing me up, not unlike you dad’s weird coworker who notices how much you’ve grown. After a few uncomfortable moments, he finally said, “I thought you didn’t work here anymore.” I just work every other weekend because of college. I told him this. Then he said, “I thought you were going to the high school down the street.” I said “no” too quickly. Much too quickly. This was a missed opportunity for a well-placed lie.
Why couldn’t I have told him I went to the high school? Why didn’t I tell him that I’m smart for my age and I graduated from high school early? If the guy put together that I’m at least 18, I should have worked into the conversation that I have several boyfriends, all of whom are muscular, dangerous, and willing to beat up an old man in the name of love!
He continued to interrogate me. He wanted to know my major, where I live when I’m away, everything short of if I’m interested in older men. I continued giving him vague answers and backing away slowly and he continued smiling at me and nodding. Slowly.
I am not a damsel in distress. I hate asking for help. I prefer handling things myself. But a small thought entered my mind. What if I needed assistance? I looked around me, but no one else had entered the library yet. I was sure I’d be able to take down this patchy-bearded abomination, but what if he was harboring the kind of old man strength typically reserved for old masters of kung fu in movies?
My fiction-laden librarian mind began to ask questions. Where was my knight in shining armor? It didn’t even have to be armor. He could have been dressed in aluminum foil, and I would have been grateful. He could have rolled up on a white tricycle and, as long as he promised to intervene, I would have given him my handkerchief and promised my undying love.
My pitiful fantasies were cut short after a long stare and a creepy nod from the questionable old-timer. He walked away, leaving me to catch my breath and put my mace where I could easily access it. I sat down, fastened another button on my blouse, and regretted wearing form-fitting leggings. I looked at my pink socks and blushed. Pink was an inappropriate color for the day. I should have worn all black.