It seemed like a lovely night for a bike riding lesson. Our oldest, the pro, was at a sleepover so we didn’t have to worry about competition. Little Jo had apparently grown 6 inches in the previous week and could suddenly straddle the balance bike without collapsing into a heap of blood and tears, as per usual. We are shit at bike lessons, apparently. It occurs to me someone on the internet has figured this out and i could research it.
But I digress. So we’re happily walking along as a family – dad, mum, and the Jo pretending to ride the balance bike but, in fact, more sort of hobbling along holding it up with an expression of undiluted joy such as any Harvard grad might hold. We turn a corner and, from across the street on the balcony of what I can only assume is the neighborhood brothel, a lady calls out, “Can I get a sip o’ that?”
We look over, startled. “No,” the engineer and I say in unison.
The lady waves in a “no worries, down in a jiff” kind of way and that’s it. We’re trapped. A three year old on a balance bike moves at roughly the speed of coral.
“Are you tired?” I asked her. “Want me to carry you and your bike home at an alarming rate?”
“NO. I good.” She keeps trucking. The lady from the balcony appears at ground level, checks traffic, and runs across to join us.
“You’re being followed,” she says.
I laugh, thinking she means the kid. “Yeah, I can’t seem to shake her,” I say.
She’s wearing one of those gathered top, strapless, doubles as a skirt numbers with a scarf worn like a bandelero and her hair in short dreads. She’s pretty, thin but not yet methy-thin, and has an accent I only recognize as “somewhere in Africa, probably,” because Hollywood. I don’t travel much.
“Can I get a sip?” she asks again.
“Yeeeah, no. No. I don’t…it’s just soda,” I lie. It is clearly an Old Pal. We’ve decided to go dry next month so bike lessons THIS month require a cocktail. Don’t judge.
“I don’t mean to be wearing this around your little one,” she says, “It’s wrong.” At this point I turn away for a moment and, apparently, she lifts her dress to flash my husband.
“No, You look lovely,” I reply automatically.
“Oh, you’re too sweet,” she says and slaps my ass. “You’re a beautiful couple. Beautiful little girl.” She pulls me close and whispers, like she doesn’t want to be overheard. “You’re being followed.”
She backs away. “I’m a prophet.”
“You’re a prophet?”
“You’re being followed.”
The first thing that came to mind was this blog, and its mind boggling whole four-thousandish followers. Yes, I thought, I am being followed. Sort of.
“Well I should hope so!” I said. Then I helped my daughter home in a speedily fashion and went past the house to sneak in through the alley as if crazy prophet lady doesn’t live at the end of my block.
So thanks, people. Maybe don’t follow so closely. You’re beginning to attract the attention of prophets.