observer

Someone, somewhere, at some point in time, told me that humans are divided into two categories: participants and observers.

I’ve always considered myself an observer; not a terribly good one, obviously, since I can’t remember who told me that.

I think about this now. I am living in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. It is quiet; peaceful, almost. It is lonely.

It is two a.m. There was nothing interesting in the windows of the building across.

So, I stand in the hardware aisle of the 24 hour super-store nearby, observing power tools. A man passes me by. He is black. I start to follow him, subconsciously, at first. Then, with purpose. Maybe he speaks English, I think; Russia is not a very diverse place.

He has dreadlocks. He is wearing sweatpants; a nice pair of headphones hang around his neck. I wonder where he is from. He stops in the bread aisle. I stand at the head of it, scratching my face. He turns. I pretend to buy some flour, for my late-night bake-off perhaps. When I turn back, he is gone.

I catch up with him in frozen foods. I have instant noodles in my arms. A babushka watches me, watching him.

“What?” I snap.

She growls and moves on, cart full of jars, fermenting. The man I’ve been hunting looks up. He frowns.

I try to wave, dropping an instant noodle. I bend to pick it up. Another one drops.

I sigh, gather my strength and ferret the little packages into my arms. When I straighten up, he is gone.

The Babushka is chuckling at me, rolling away. I give the back of her head the finger.

I look around, feeling a bit panicked. I turn to find myself looking into a well-polished bit of freezer. My eyes are sunken, arms full of instant noodles.

“Are you following some poor man through a grocery store at two-a.m.?” My reflection asks.

I nod, guiltily.

“Go home!” It demands.

I nod, sadly. I drop my instant noodles into the closest freezer.

I head for the exit.

 

Author Benjamin Davis and artist Nikita Klimov created one story and one picture each day for one year. In May 2018 they published their first book, The King of FU

13 Comment on “Hot on the Trail of Dreadlocks

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