There’s someone watching me

Megan started to bark.  I looked up from my blackberry picking and warily checked out the canal path in both directions.  Nothing.  I say warily because Meg is a passive soul and I am her pack leader and protector.  It was, therefore, rare for her to stand her ground when spooked.  She normally headed to a safe place which was, for her, the space behind my legs.  The only other time I’ve ever heard that much menace emitting from her, was the time I stopped and asked for directions when out driving with my sister one day.  Her doggy senses detected something very unsavoury about the man stooped at the window, enough to make her turn into snarling fur ball.   My point is that when my dog stands her ground and goes on alert I take notice.     I scanned the area again as Meggie went into a frenzy of high pitched howls.  Still nothing.  No boats, no joggers, no walkers, no canines – with or without owners.  Just me, the dog and a bucketful of fruit waiting to be turned into potent organic wine.  I stood still and listened, all the while scanning the area for danger.  Yes there was …….. something.   The sleepy atmosphere was now pervaded by threat and the tranquil air prickled with foreboding.  My inner sense told me I was being watched. 

Perplexed I watched Meggie, who was still in full protect mode, for clues as to where the threat was coming from and suddenly got it.   I looked up and stared into a pair of dark shades.  Leaning on the edge of a small stone bridge arching over the canal ahead of me was my bad feeling.  A man in his early 30s, over dressed and far too neat for a hot sunny day, was staring directly at me.   A minute passed as we sized each other up.  It’s amazing what passed through my mind in that small amount of time:- do I know you?  No I don’t.  Who are you, why are you watching me? Are you watching me. You look out of place here, your clothes are too smart, Am I in danger? There’s no one around, what are my escape routes? I can hit you with the with the bucket – that’s no help it’s plastic.  Wish I’d taken self defence classes, no one will hear me if I scream. Is he really watching me?  The dog was still going nuts.  Deciding it was time to leave before Meg lost her voice or courage I checked behind me to make sure that my route was clear.  When I turned back he was on the move.  Ready to take off if he headed towards the bridge steps I watched as he walked over to a car parked on the other side , got in and drove off.    I legged it – making it home in a record time – even faster than the time I’d left the risotto boiling dry on my stove.  The dog beat me to it.     

Three days later my phone rang at work.  I picked it up and warbled out the standard greeting.    

“I know what’s going on” a female voice hissed into my ear.

“What?” I replied completely flummoxed

“I’ve had you both followed, I know where you live and if you don’t leave him alone – I’ll be waiting for you”  she hung up.

It was my turn to make a call.

“You remember telling me your ex was a little mad? Well she’s hired a Private Detective and had you followed and now she’s threatening me.  Why would she do that?”

It turned out that the ex was not actually an ex as I’d been lead to believe.  He, having broken if off some months earlier, had recently started to be emotionally blackmailed by her as she had threatened to kill herself.   He apparently had no idea what to do and ‘humoured’ her.  This included having sex  – presumably to prevent her from self harming.   Despite the fact he was the only man that had ever taken the trouble to make me a valentines card, he was obviously weak, stupid and a two timer.  Definitely not worth fighting a mad, scary and potentially knife wielding woman for.   I left them to it and went abroad for a break.  He took a holiday to Turkey at the same time to mull things over and when he came back his house had half burned down.  Homeless, she cut him a deal – move in with me and marry me – he did.  Despite the fact she was probably cause of the fire in the first place.    A couple of months after the wedding he contacted me.   

“I made a big mistake” he said “I love you – I should never have married her”. 



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