He was following me, I didn't understand it. Every route of the bus, down every turn, I felt his eyes dig into my back. Even after when I had got off he continued to pursuit, his pace not giving away as though his age was a disguise. I wanted to run, but I knew what would happen if I did. Thankfully I remembered his features, he never spoke but kept his gaze locked when he passed. The cold tension of aquamarine irises on my own, and his unkempt pale face. The scruffs of dark hair, trimmed around his jaw, purposeful as though to appear aged. Was he trying to confuse me? Was he younger than he appeared? Maybe... He was sent by her?
Questions layered questions, and I had nearly passed the twin doors of the apartment building before I made sense of myself. Clutching the handle of steel, I pulled fast and walked through, cautious to hear the sound of rippling cloth fibers or the collision against a hand or muscle. But strangely enough I couldn't make out anything, giving a glance to the side to see the reflection behind me on the mirrored wall, I saw absolutely no one else.
He didn't follow me after all I suppose, or had I lost his trace finally? Whatever, it was another thing I needn't worry about for now, but a recycled thing to add onto my favorable list of annoyances. The following staircases echoed of my footsteps, they were hollow I thought, my old home had the same; had I ever listened that closely. It gave me memories, no matter how distinctly disliked they were, it echoed of them making me wobble as I reached the door of my own abode.
In gold numerals, the number 13. Sanctuary, if I recalled never had such a bad twist to it, though I suppose 13 never meant ill to anyone but was misjudged. Another feeling stirred as it drifted past my thoughts, misjudged, something that occurred frequently with me. Whether it was being gay or appearing far too youthful for a 21 year old, all of it was offensive in some way. I had my moments of hatred of course, I would pound the pillow imagining it was someones face I disliked, and tear up shallowly but it was all humane wasn't it?
My fingers rolled onto the knob of copper, making a tinkering sound as my thumb ring brushed past. It didn't release a memory but rather a feeling or emotion this time, it was like a mood ring with no colors but still reminisced "anxiety." Nervousness to know a man was stalking me, fear that I would have to deal with him all my life and all of this made me inhale hopelessly.
With the metallic key inserted and withdrawn, I clutched the door like a lifeline, and drew myself into the barren entrance of my room. The soft shuttering sound the door made when locked, finally relaxing me to exhale afterwards. I did the usual move, drop my bags and stretch then go grab a drink. It was all fine and normal until I reached the third stage, usually I never bothered to use the extra length of the counter so I kept it empty. Besides that the fridge was beside it, so was something else... A note and card.
Again the suspicion and careful movements, as I removed a tall cup from the upper drawers. My hand clasped the fridge door as I brought out a can of soda, I quickly removed the cap and poured it out halfway before curiosity got the better of me. With a sip of bubbly froth, my hand grasped the jutted corner of the slip of paper. It definitely was high quality paper too, yet it was strange why it contained only a single sentence.
"Expect a call after your work shift, I have a gift for you here."
It read as though the writer knew me, it was cursive and feminine with an arrow directed at the end telling me to turn the sheet. I flipped the page precariously, wondering why the edges didn't bend without noticing the "gift." Whoever it was had sent me an opal ring, taped finely on the back in such a way where you could easily remove it manually, but never drop it by accident. I lifted it gently, the shimmer of the dark gem affixed my attention most among the silver lining.
It was just the right size for my ring finger, and would stay in place as I examined the jewellery on my hand. Then the phone rang. I watched it, a race of thoughts in my head as to what I should say. It rang for about two more times before I finally lifted the speaker up, I could vaguely hear the sound of a drink being poured or running water of some kind before a voice.
"That took you a while to answer, I thought I called the moment you placed that ring on your finger."
"Yea, oh the ring yes... I'm sorry, and thank you."
She was Russian or Ukrainian I think, the tone of her voice was at least from Eastern Europe of some kind, I remembered her voice earlier the day. Her English was perfect, but she spoke so deliberately with a heavy accent I couldn't tell. I myself probably sounded as American as it was, a lot of fumbled up words that couldn't be put together and it was probably due to that fact she knew everything I had just done.
"Say, who are you again? How did you know I got your ring and why'd you send this?"
"Hold up with the questions, I'll explain myself after, and more when we meet if you want. Let me ask you something first. Do you like it?"
"The ring? Oh, yes of course. It's different I suppose, I like it though."
I heard a sipping sound and the slosh of liquid within a cup again, even after the pouring was gone. She coughed a bit while I spoke, and I was able to confirm she was indeed Russian as she whispered something in the background.
"Good good, listen I'll be over to pick you up at around 6:00 sharp. Limousine by 3rd Street, my name is Olga, and that's all you need to know. The ring is my little, welcoming present."
"Wait, what? I just got home, can you let me wait a bit. What color or license plate is your limousine? Welcome to what?"
"No, you come in about 15 minutes or I'll send Andrei to find you. Besides, who else has a limousine here. I'll explain everything once you get here."
"Okay, see you soon."
"Oh and by the way, take 'them' off, you look much better without those things."
She hung up then before I could ask anything more, and my head continued to pound with complex thoughts. She sent the stalker guy, should I trust her? Why does she have a limousine? What does she want with me? And the biggest question of all was, how does she know that last fact?...
Swirling around in my head, I finally decided to clean myself up as I entered the washroom to take a shower. I made sure to remove my opal and patterned rings, diamond earring and colored contacts of green, as I stared into the lit mirror. It was good knowing I could at least look at my real self in the mornings and noon, yet for now only I and Olga apparently, would ever know my dirty little secret:
The violet lilac reflection of my true eyes.