Nothing happened. I need to preface this tale with that statement, both for you and for me. Nothing happened.
Went for a walk after my language class (which I like, btw). I felt good; my back was at a low ebb and the sun was shining. Hadn’t quite made the first canal when I passed a guy on a bike, who nodded to me. A moment later I heard a ‘mevrouw’, so I paused. The guy on the bike stopped to ask me if I knew where the supermarket was. Simple! Not only did I understand him, he happened to be asking about the shop I live above. ‘Ja’, I said proudly, knowing I could give him directions direct from my lessons: straight ahead on your right side. A conversation ensued. Where are you from? How long have you lived here? Standard Dutch questions I’m beginning to anticipate. We found we were both newcomers to the Netherlands, and both in language classes. When he asked if he could walk with me for a bit, I said yes, enjoying the simple conversation. All went well, until he felt he needed to show me his apartment. Three times I tried to say no, three times I heard ‘oh, no, come on, come on’. I reluctantly followed him up the stairs to his flat.
Every hair on my body stood up when he locked the door behind me.
I’m gonna be honest here, even tho I’ll be admitting to some horrible thoughts. The moment that lock clicked every refugee rape story I’ve heard – including women older than myself getting raped – ran through my head in a moment. This guy did not strike me as a predator, but then, that’s how you get into trouble. You think of course it can’t/won’t happen to you, and then it does. He continued to insist I stay, telling me to take a seat, offering me some water. I didn’t budge from the hallway. I put on my best sorry face, and told him my brother was waiting for me to be done with my walk so we could begin some language work. I was very relieved when he unlocked the door and let me out.
He walked with me part way back to my home. Kept asking to have coffee some time. I did my best to put him off. I straight up asked how old he was (26) so I could hit him with my own age (which I popped up to the next number): 51. Didn’t phase him. I heard that I was a beautiful woman, age didn’t matter, blah, blah, blah. Ye gods! Under pressure I agreed to coffee, but on my terms – Monday morning in a public place.
I really want to tell myself that he’s lonely, just wants a friend in the neighborhood, someone he can practice talking to. I think he wants more, though. *rolls eyes* Far more than I’d be willing to give.
So I’ve got his mobile number. And he asked me to send him a text confirming that we’ll meet Monday morning. But I’m concerned. I’m concerned that if I send out that text I’ll suddenly be bombarded with texts and phone calls from him. I guess if I’m honest with myself, my gut tells me there was something a bit off. I hate to jump the gun here; it could easily be cultural differences that are throwing me – which is why I agreed to coffee on Monday in the first place. But something isn’t right. Either it’s a predator I’m smelling or a guy looking for a wife – either way, I don’t want any part of it.
I KNOW what the triggers are that are making me so jumpy. They’re easy to define. I just don’t know if I’m only being triggered or if there really is something sinister going on. Why, oh why couldn’t it have been a woman that approached me? (Answer: that probably comes with its own set of triggers, and would be far more difficult for me to deal with.)
Damn it all, anyway!
Told my bro when he came home – after I heard about Marvel comics for an hour (aarrrrgh; sometimes his autism really drives me nutty). He expressed a passing interest in coming along Monday for conversation, so I think I’ll see if he’s serious about that. A public place is good. A public place with another person there to back me up is better. If the guy I met really is lonely and just wants some friendship and conversation, he’ll welcome my bro. The more I think about it, the more I realize it really IS a good idea. A litmus test, of sorts. My bro has the tendency to bring out the real person in people.
So yeah, nothing happened. *Clink*. It’s just that *clink* I can’t get the sound of the lock turning *clink* out of my head *clink*.
A caged animal. That’s what I felt like, a caged animal. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. Funny how such a small sound can do so fucking much to your head.
I’ll admit, too, to a certain dread of walking that direction again simply out of fear of running into him. Fear over everything: more Dutch to wade through, the possible predator I might be talking to, having to dodge more passes made at me.
Yeah, that sums it up.
No wonder I drank when I was younger. This is three guys in two years; used to be three or more guys a day coming on to me. It’s hard to dodge, hard to say no, hard to deal with in every single fucking aspect. I’m not asking for it. I’m not dressed up, wearing make-up, or flirting by ANY stretch of the imagination. If I like a guy that way, I’ll make it known. Otherwise – get out of my face. I don’t have the time or patience for your pretend ‘I love you’ crap.
Nothing happened. Let’s keep it that way.