I took my seat on the train, and took deep breaths. Desperately, I needed to calm myself. Slowly, in -- out. In -- out. In. I repeated the words as I breathed -- out. And then I remembered that vile bastard, yelling those same words into my ear with each plunge. In -- and now, I wanted to scream, to let it all out from that intake.
My voice cracked, and... I stopped myself, not wanting to cause a scene. I must have looked daft, face red and struggling to find inner peace in the midst of a bustling crowd.
What was I doing? I stared off, inattentively, at the man sitting across from me. Why was I here?
Fate!? No, I don't believe in such things. It binds free-will like--
Like -- a rapist. My rapist. There he was, seated across from me in the closed quarters of the train. Was I delusional? I blinked, and he was still there, in some baffling coincidence. My heart beat faster, like an ancient drum. Thoughts and consequences whirred about in my mind, like an ancient typhoon.
He looked peaceful, listening to a pair of headphones. He tapped his leg, and looked out the window at the forest we were passing. The same features I had described, panic-stricken, to my dear Al. There was not a doubt in my mind.
The make-up had been washed from my face. My hair was now tied back in a bun. I was wearing a clean set of clothes. I wanted to count on the fact that he would not recognize me. Is that enough to save me?
I had to make a decision, here and now. My right hand reached into my purse, and tentatively clutched the can of pepper-spray Mom had given me. My left hand, however, trembled with the urge to strangle him. And my mind pondered the deceitful possibility of befriending him or beguiling him enough to figure out who he is.