“DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS.”
“DON’T GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT A BUDDY.”
“IF A STRANGER OFFERS YOU CANDY DON’T TAKE IT.”
“IF YOU SEE A CAR FOLLOWING YOU WALK IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.”
Those were among multiple of the commands you got from your parents. And was usually followed by a, “OTHERWISE, A SCARY MAN IS GONNA KIDNAP YOU AND YOU’LL NEVER SEE US AGAIN.”
In my search of the adventure I’ve always been seeking I came across a stranger whose prolonged kindness struck me as unusual after some time.
It was great that this old man who I thought had so much to offer was speaking to me. He was a retired teacher from a high school near my university. He had a broken hip and now that it was replaced wanted to relive his youth on the dance floor. And in our few rounds of back step-side step- side step was where I began to learn all of this.
But then there was the point where casual dances and our small talk created a segway into a sitting conversation.
‘Why is he sitting so close to me? And his smile is so….smiley…its weird…Hmmmm I’m sure it’s no big deal. After all he is old and here by himself. I’m sure in his old age it gets lonely and it must make him happy to see young folk enjoying old traditions….’
I WAS RIGHT. AND THEN I WAS WRONG. SO WRONG. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCT.
The definition of “nasty old man” was brought to life. He left to accompany my friend in a round of swing and the photographer out of concern decided to enlighten me with the very disturbing information that this teacher was actually fired for having allegations of fondling girls made against him….
The excitement and adrenaline from our NIGHT OUT PAINTING THE DAMN TOWN RED was drowned out by a sudden fear and a hint of anger. I stood up, straightened out my dress, and without trying to reveal my sudden nervousness asked him firmly, “Are you sure these aren’t rumors? Speculation is very much exclusive from a confirmed truth.”
His response, “My niece went to the school at the time…so I know the accusations made were very much true…”
TO BE CONTINUED*
DISCLAIMER- The man whom I am speaking about is not portrayed in any of these photographs. And will not be revealed due to safety and privacy reasons.