I was walking down an alley, the kind you´d rather not walk at this hour of night. Dark, narrow, no houses, just walls. Normally I would have taken the long route, but it was raining. Hard. This shortcut meant 15 minutes less in the pouring rain and a reasonable decrease in the chance of catching my first common cold of the season. Halfway down the alley, I noticed a man at the other end, walking in my direction. Tall, big, not handsome … The type you don´t want to meet in a dark alley at night. Alarm bells started ringing in my head. I remembered my ´self defense classes´, so I increased my pace, took a firmer grip on my handbag – heavy! weapon! – and looked down – avoid eye contact! Five meters away, the man slowed down. I made the mistake to look in his direction.
I saw him taking something out of his bag. Something small.
`Hello lady´, he said, and smiled to me. “Oh no” I thought, shivers running down my spine, “I should have listened to my conscious and taken the long route…” “Want a strawberry?”
I noticed the man was holding a little box with fresh strawberries in front of me.
I refused his offer – “No. Thanks.” – I was not hungry. Really. The man shrugged his shoulders. I walked on, and did not look back.