I walked a ways along the beach yesterday then turned back and went into the public bathroom. When I came out a man was drinking water from a tap. I waited for him, because I wanted to wash the sand off my feet. He looked up and said “oh, I hadn’t expected a queue!”
The beach was pretty deserted so it was an innocuous “oh, hallo” kind of comment. His energy was clean. I smiled, and he walked off.
Then I noticed another man sitting a few yards away. I cleaned my feet, turned the tap off, and there he was, standing. I didn’t want to be rude, so when he made a comment about the day or something, I replied, then started to move away.
In retrospect I see that I could feel some kind of aggression hovering underneath his friendly and kind of innocent demeanor. A low grade alarm bell warning went off in me.
He said he was from Johannesburg on a work contract, and a work colleague had said go down to Fishhoek beach, it’s a friendly place.
I said, well, I have to go now. “Where?” he asked me. I said I’m on my way home. He was trying to engage me – still all friendly and innocent, I’m just a nice friendly guy. I still didn’t want to be rude. When am I going to learn. Don’t even look at the exterior, it tells you nothing. Listen to your gut.
He said he came down to the beach like his colleague told him, and he was just sitting there, when this stunning woman walked past.
Thank you for the compliment, I said, but I have to go now. Obviously he’d followed me a ways. Creepy.
“Don’t you even have time for a coffee?” he said and it was an accusation. I said no, I didn’t and that’s when I saw a streak of rabid anger flash through him.
I walked away, feeling like he’d molested me. I know that kind of man very well. I’ve had lots of experiences, which all led to me being abused, either emotionally or sexually. He wasn’t looking for somebody to have coffee with. He was looking for somebody to have power over.
It was a wake-up call. No matter how much I understand now about protecting myself, no matter how good I’m getting at doing it, there’s a part of me that still says to that kind of man she’s a victim, you can do what you want with her.
I want to puke.