She started spinning around in the parking lot, trying to spot the Giant, but the Giant was just not there. She walked over to where she'd seen his car and it was still there. This realization made her stomach do flips.
What if he'd seen her and was following her? How could he do that and not be seen? He's a giant.
What if he had a camera set up and was watching her that way? Except where would the camera be?
What if the camera were the store camera and he had hacked into the store's computer so he could spy on her that way? Really? Just to watch her? On a grocery store camera? The giant wouldn't do that, she decided, but Handsome would. Even if she didn't really know him, she thought that much about him was true.
She spun around the opposite way, now looking for Handsome. She spun around the other way and spotted a taxi dropping someone off to get their groceries. They went out the right door and she she went in the left.
"I hope you're free," she said, trying to be breezy.
"Yes, sure, why not," said the driver. "Where are you going?"
"Well," she said, making the word into two syllables, "I'd would like to see a bit of this neighborhood. Can you make some rights and lefts?"
The driver looked at her in the rear view mirror.
"Are you stalking someone, Missus? If you are stalking someone then I am not to be interested," the driver advised.
Bingo! she thought.
"Someone is stalking me," she said. "And I want to throw him off the scent."
He looked at her some more and she met his gaze as he looked at her in the mirror.
"Okay. Where are we to go?" he asked.
They left the parking lot and she asked the driver to just please make lefts and rights and get away from this store and maybe they wouldn't be followed.
"Not to worry. I have training to know when being followed," he said.
She didn't know if it was just a guy trying her impress her or a guy wishing this fact were so or a guy who was telling her the truth.
"Great!" she exclaimed, not wishing to offend any of those guys. "I leave it to you."
A ten-minute cab ride stretched to 25 minutes including a jog through an alley and onto and then off of the freeway. She still had the driver drop her off two blocks from her residence and tipped him lavishly. He handed her a business card.
"If you are seeking to get a ride, you are please to call me," he said. "I am glad to drive you."
"Thanks and have a happy Thanksgiving," she said, tucking the card into her bag.
"My wife is making the turkey. She makes every year for family and it is good," he told her. "My wife is American from Dearborn. In Michigan. Near Detroit."
A zillion questions came to mind, which was very usual for her -- where did they meet, how long had they been married, did they have kids, how often did they visit Dearborn, had he lived in Detroit -- but she just wanted to get home and think.
"Enjoy yourself, sir." She smiled and exited the cab and he drove off.
She walked briskly to her apartment building, a woman who looked like she might be slightly unbalanced. The put her keys on the table near the door and hung up her coat in the closet by the door, putting the hat on the shelf. She washed her hands and dried them on the old kitchen towel. She took the entire shopping bag of groceries and put it in the top shelf of the refrigerator without bothering to empty it. She took off her shoes and looked to see if anyone had left a telephone message but it said "0."
Going into her handbag, she found the card the cab driver had given her and attached it to her fridge with a magnet in the shape of a horse head. She picked up a pen and put the date on it, so she'd remember when she got it, just in case she wanted to go somewhere and didn't want to be followed. The card said:
Mr. M's Expert Driving.
I'll Get You There!
Mr. M, Professional Driver.
The way Mr. M drove made her believe he really did have training in that area.
In the bathroom, she scrubbed off her eye makeup with baby shampoo and then washed her face with a beauty bar. She brushed her teeth for two minutes with an electric toothbrush, then flossed. She always took off all her eye makeup at night and brushed and flossed. Her world could go as crazy as can be but she was confident that if it all did, her gums would not bleed.
The next day she'd see her cousin's husband. She'd also see their children, her aunt and uncle, her other aunt and uncle and their children -- her other cousins -- whom, truth be told, she got on with better than the cousin whose husband she needed to chat with but none of them worked for the Secretary of State's office. Her cousin, the hostess of the dinner, seemed to generally disapprove of anything she'd ever done in her life, but she got on fine with the husband and their kids. All she needed was 15 minutes to share the story she'd been practicing for days, honing the finer points of the tale, that now culminated in a drive just a little while ago through an alley to make certain of a clean getaway.
She went to bed early, exhausted from the evening's events, setting her alarm clock for an early hour to make the cranberry relish.