Not this time, Life, I thought stepping outside to a beautiful day. Not this time.
The sun is out, the birds are singing and I’ve got nothing to do all day but sit on my butt and enjoy myself. You will not get me today. I’ve figured out your tricks and I know how to get to Starbucks without coming upon one of your sticky situations.
I closed my eyes and sat on the stoop, leaning against the pillar for support. If I wasn’t watching the world I was less likely to see something I didn’t want to see.
Several minutes later a car honked from the curb and I peered through clenched eyelids at the awaiting Uber. I tried to keep my focus solely on the back door of the car as I approached but there was an enormous lockup and a screeching of brakes that caught my attention before I could stop myself. Halfway between the cloud of smoke billowing from the car’s tyres and where I stood there was a dog humping the leg of a couch that had been abandoned on the curb. On the scale of what I usually encountered in a day a dog going at it with a sofa wasn’t that big a deal. But it did tell me that life was up to its usual tricks.
I scurried into the back of the Uber and stared at the seat between my legs without saying a word.
“Where you off to, buddy?” the driver asked.
“Just the Starbucks down the road,” I replied, keeping my eyes down but unable to close them or I would get car sick.
“Couldn’t have walked there,” the driver said judgmentally, because it was only a one mile trip.
It was too hard to explain why I could walk but I really didn’t want to so I just grunted and that stopped him from continuing the conversation.
As he pulled away from the curb I started to slide down on the leather seats and as I reached sideways to catch myself I saw the enormous stain beside me. He must have seen the disgusted look on my face in the mirror because he started laughing.
“Yeah sorry about the stains back there. Haven’t had a chance to do a proper clean after last night.”
I quickly pulled my hand away from the seat and shifted to make sure I wasn’t sitting on another since he had said stains multiple and not just the one. “What exactly are these stains from? Wait, actually I do not want to know.”
“Better that way,” he laughed, causing a shudder of disgust to roil through me.
I tucked my hands into my armpits and hunched into myself so that I touched as little of the car as possible. Which meant that as he slammed on the brakes I smashed my head into the back of his seat. As I looked up to see what made him stop so suddenly all I saw was his phone being unlocked. He couldn’t minimise the browser and I couldn’t look away fast enough so I caught a few seconds of the porn he had been watching earlier.
Taking an Uber instead of just walking had definitely backfired. I got out of the car as fast as I could and walked away with my head down. We had made it only halfway to Starbucks and in that time I had already seen or been exposed to three sexual acts. For a plan that was supposed to reduce that number, not increase it, I had definitely screwed up.
If I didn’t need a good coffee as badly as I needed to not see anything sexual I would have run straight home. Obviously that meant I had to take the risk. This wasn’t going to go away without the caffeine anyway.
Somehow I made it the last half a mile without being traumatised or run over. It’s hard to decide which I’m more grateful for.
There was construction at the front of the Starbucks, blocking me from entering through the front and directing me to take the side alley to reach the rear entry. If ever there was an apparent trap to draw me into seeing a sexual act that was one hundred percent it. But the only way this was going to end was by having a half caf soy mocha latte.
I stood at the entrance to the alley staring at my feet for almost a full minute before I lifted my eyes hesitantly. The half of the alley was clear but it was what was around the corner and out of view of the street that concerned me.
I entered the alley and stopped before turning the corner to listen out for any noises that might indicate something I didn’t want to see was happening. It was impossible to tell if any of the sounds were from the alley or if they were just part of the street noise.
The proximity of the coffee made me act rashly and I stepped around the corner without lowering my eyeline. The alley was clear but as I walked towards what was at first a dead end because of more construction boards I was exposed to exactly what I should have expected. The construction board fell towards me and as it hit the ground a half naked couple landed atop it mid thrust.
I accidentally locked eyes with the young man lying atop of a young woman before I could look away.
“That’s is it,” I said. “I am so fucking done with this.”
“And we’re done fucking,” the man said and high fived his partner over her bare chest.
I ran into Starbucks as fast as I could and snatched the first cup of coffee I saw out of someone’s hand. It burned my throat and probably seared off my tastebuds permanently but I didn’t care. The man I snatched the coffee from was furious as I ignored him and walked back into the alley.
The couple had already removed themselves and I breathed a sigh of relief. For at least the next twelve hours the only sexual encounters I would run into would be of my own doing.