by Natalie Robin

I was sitting in a cafe with a friend last night talking about unusual things–the only acceptable kinds of things–and my friend was explaining the scenario of seeing or being near somebody who you don’t really know, when an eerie feeling comes over you that suggests to your mind that you shouldn’t be near this person. You try and escape their presence in the most convenient way possible, really for no apparent cause other than something about them just doesn’t seem right.

“Do you have any examples of your own?”

“My own what?”

“People like that”

I thought about for a minute…and I really didn’t have my own example , at least not to the extent they had explained, but I wound around my brain trying to think of even a vague example to, I guess, empathize with what seemed like a decently troubling situation for my company.

“Well there was this one guy who would come into where I used to work. Phillip. I didn’t know him very well, but every time we did speak I was very uncomfortable.”

I knew of Phillip when I was living with my parents an hour away from where I live now. I was working at a cafe there and I recognized most people that came in on a daily basis, all of who were pleasant enough. I used to try and deduce why I was so uncomfortable around Phillip. I thought at different times, perhaps it was his mannerisms or the was he gazed at things or people. Other than that, all I could formulate was that he was also a pleasant enough, yet everytime he would come in to get a small, single latte–that’s what he always got–Sometimes I felt the need to make an excuse to go in the back room or I would use the bathroom if I saw him walking up to the front door. Even his mother would come in where sometimes they would meet to have coffee together and I would be sure to keep an eye out for the next 20 minutes to see if this was one of those times.

And last night when I parted ways with my friend and got on the Bart to go back home, Phillip..was sitting across from me on the train and with my brain in a mild frenzy, I desperately tried not to look at him the entire ride.