He lifted his head, looked directly at me and grinned. I smiled by way of greeting and asked how I could help. He was with an older woman, his mother perhaps; she answered for him.
“Two cappuccinos, skim milk”.
“No worries” I replied. He was looking intently at me as if waiting for me to say something. I responded to the expression with general small talk, I don’t remember what. If he replied I don’t recall what he said, all I can remember was the glint his eyes and the way he stared directly into my own as though he was searching for something.
I felt his intense gaze following me as I turned away to pick up the coffee cups. I looked back in his direction and was instantly met with the unrelenting stare. It wasn’t an angry, expectant or impatient stare, not the stare of a drug user or someone worried I’d use the wrong milk, no, his eyes were dancing.
He grinned as I caught his eye, almost nervously at first but he didn’t briefly glance away as one normally does in such situations, he just kept staring; his eyes twinkling almost arrogantly.
It felt odd, people often look at me while I make their coffee but he wasn’t watching what I was doing, he was watching me. He was staring obviously and directly at my face trying to meet my eyes.
I thought he was checking me out at first and felt awkward. I smiled to be polite but tried to be as unflirtatious as possible and quickly turned back to my coffee machine.
I knew he was still looking at me, I could feel it. I glanced up briefly and accidentally met his eyes again, he was still staring directly at me, gawking. He smiled, never once looking away. Eyes dancing somewhat malevolently. It seemed like he was trying to silently ask me something but not like he wanted to ask me out, more like he was trying to read my mind.
I quickly averted my eyes back at the milk jug and wondered for a minute if maybe I knew him from somewhere or he thought he knew me. He was probably my age, a little younger perhaps? Had we gone to school together? I’m terrible with faces, people often recognise me when I don’t remember them…
“Sugar?” I asked peering up again briefly.
He shook his head but didn’t speak, he was still staring unbrokenly right into my eyes. His face flickered for a second then he started grinning widely as though I was some celebrity he’d been dying to meet and now that he had, he didn’t know what to say.
I have worked in customer service for over 20years. We often smile and giggle and engage in chit chat because we are trying to sell a product. It’s part of the job. Occasionally a customer might mistake it as flirting or even ask you out but never in all my years had I had a customer like this. He had walked in staring, I had not engaged back with him at all and he wasn’t stopping.
It was getting really creepy.
I handed the coffees over and the woman asked for two muffins as well. I put them into the brown paper bag and tried to look only at her while I took their payment. Anytime I looked in his direction his eyes were still staring directly at mine and his smile seemed to get wider and wider, never once had he broken his gaze.
On second thoughts, the grin he displayed when he saw me see him looking seemed to flash a cunning smirk before being almost forced into a broad obvious smile. The woman he was with didn’t seem to notice. Was he fucking with me?
There’s a thing often described in psychology as ‘micro facial expressions’. Where a person briefly and subconsciously expresses their true emotions before intentional thought kicks in. For example a fleeting look of anger, disgust or enjoyment may show in a persons brow, purse of the lips or movements of the eyes before being quickly replaced by the classic expressions of the emotions they choose or even subconsciously feel expected to portray.
Was he bring friendly? Flirty? Malicious? Trying to get a reaction? Having a stroke?
It’s funny, I still couldn’t tell you the colour of his piercing eyes even though by now they seemed to be trying to invade my soul. The air felt electric between us, but in a very bad way and every hair on my body started standing.
I wondered for a second if he read the blog and had randomly found me out in the wild and wanted to say something. Was I imagining it? The smile suggested he was friendly and happy, almost excited. The smirk suggested he knew me, knew something about me or at least absolutely had the upper hand in whatever this was. The glint in his twinkling stare felt almost evil.
Internally my whole system was now on high alert and the room started to become distant. I could feel myself beginning to dissociate, I wanted to run. The other staff were out the back having a smoke break and I felt very alone. V whispered inside my head “Ted Bundy vibes dude, you are okay but get a description”.
I tried to stay present and focus on the counter. Do you know how hard it is to get a description of someone you’re actively trying not to look at?
He had a symmetrical face, clear skin framed by longish wavy brown hair, I suppose he was a good looking man by societal standards but there was something very off. V was right, Ted Bundy vibes.
I don’t recall what I said next, probably have a nice day or something similar. Someone else walked in and I turned my attention to them refusing to look back toward the lady and the staring man at all until I heard the door close and could no longer feel his eyes on me.
I dared to look out the front window just as they got into their car and I’ll tell you what I told my colleagues, if I suddenly go missing tell the cops to look for a tallish slim man with wavy brown hair, piercing eyes and a confident smile who drives a white Camry.