Matt Gray

Alone in the Park

Jan 14, 2006

I left work around 0255 this morning and walked out to my car. When leaving the building this late, I usually make a cursory glance around the parking lot to ensure there’s no-one about. It’s rare when someone has a reason to be in our parking lot around 3am. Nothing was stirring outside.

Ice had built up on the windshield and rear window of my car, but nothing thick—delicate, obscuring frost that wouldn’t easily brush off. I started my car and popped the trunk, heading for the scraper. After I grabbed my absurdly long scraper and began clearing the windows, I heard the noise. Clop, clop, clop, clop, the unmistakable sound of an uneven run.

I turned around to watch a dude across the street from me running, towards me. This was unnerving. Suddenly, he stopped short. I noticed he ran with uneven lopes, hands in pockets. We stared at each other. I did my best “why the hell are you here?” look. Clearly, he had been watching me—why else would he stop?

Rather than continue our stalemate, I decided to ignore the frost and leave. I turned around, entered my car, and began to reverse, watching the dude resume his ungainly lope towards either the railroad tracks or the loading dock, on an unfathomable mission.

Was a “Hi” appropriate? Did I interrupt some weird ritual?



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