It was a late autumn day, the leaves were down, and it had been raining. I was wearing my computer glasses. They’re pretty good for distances of roughly one desk, but things start getting fuzzy once you get to measurements greater than a couch. It wasn’t the best choice to go grocery shopping, but I wear them so much I forget I have a second pair that would let me read the sign above the deli.
Now, I live pretty close to two cemeteries. I wouldn’t say it was a selection factor when I moved to the city – there are too few vacancies to be spoiled for choice – but it was definitely a perk, and it’s enough to distinguish between the two roughly equidistant supermarkets within walking distance. It’d already been a long day, but there wasn’t much food left at home, so I stopped by the grocery store and was on my way home. The city hadn’t put any signals or pedestrian crossings between the strip mall and the hill leading up to my low-rise, so like normal I jaywalked as soon as I could and kept my eyes down so I wouldn’t soak my socks in a puddle or hit a leaf-slick and fall.
The main road has the Jewish cemetery, but the whole block leading up to my hill is where the Masons are buried. It’s to that Masonic side of the street that I walked jay. When I turned the corner to actually trek up to my building, I looked up to see if there was any foot traffic and if I should be on the street side of the sidewalk, with the parked cars and the electrician’s van, or the side with the blackberry bramble and the graveyard’s chain-link fence. There was also a shadowy, human-shaped blur facing towards me in the center of the sidewalk. I only glanced up for a half second, so I don’t remember too well if the blur was moving: I was carrying a week’s worth of vegetables that wouldn’t like it if I slipped. My eyes back on the ground, I started walking on the right side. If they were walking, I assumed they’d walk on their right, like if we were oncoming cars, and I’d adjust my path as necessary if I got to them and they hadn’t moved.
I still don’t know if they had moved or not. I trekked uphill, got to where I’d need to figure out if I should make way for them, looked up, and saw no one. I looked behind me and saw no one. I looked to the other side of the bramble, and even went out into the street to check the other side of the van. No one. I elected not to check underneath the parked cars, and then I went home.