At the age of 19, I was waiting for my train to arrive, glancing back and forth at the station timetable. I made eye contact with a man. He stared in my direction and wouldn’t stop. I walked further up the platform to pry away from his gaze and he followed. He continued to stare at me.
The train finally arrived, I stepped on, took my seat and sent a text. I felt the presence of a figure nearing me. The man occupied the seat directly in front of me despite the empty carriage. Minutes passed until he suddenly turned around and looked through the gap between the seats. He swallowed before asking “How are you?”. I told him I was fine. He responded with “You don’t look fine”. I repeated myself before turning towards the window. He continued staring for a second or two before turning around.
The train stopped – I grabbed my things and walked towards the exit. He followed. I walked down the platform whilst adjusting my backpack. He followed. I left the station and began my walk home. He followed. His footsteps grazed the pavement and the all-too-familiar sense of fear began to kick in. I crossed the road and glanced back multiple times.
The streets quietened. His footsteps grew louder. My knuckles were white as I gripped my phone. I could see his shadow nearing mine until it came to an abrupt stop. Another man turned onto the street walking his dog. The stalker quickly diverted from the path and disappeared into the evening. I wonder what would have happened if the dog walker didn’t enter the street at that exact time.
Words by Ravinder Kaur