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by Susan Tepper


Psychos know to target me. Seeking me out in the usual psycho haunts like subway tunnels, twenty-four-hour diners adjacent to highways leading to airports, pay phones in murky side corridors of malls, and the big, big favorite - restrooms in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Yet I've also been bothered beside placid lakes and meandering rivers.

Once, on a postcard-perfect autumn day, near the lake in Central Park. Caught up in a sudden wave of nostalgia, I'd squatted to watch a small boy launch an old-fashioned wooden sailboat, when something prodded my shoulder. Looking up, I found myself staring into an old man's wrinkled genitals.

Then that day along River Road, stopping the car to jump out and pick some reeds of an unusual gold color that grew along the riverbank. A man seemed to rise out of its depths, as if he'd spent his life beneath that river. As he lumbered toward me waving his arms, his face wild and glowing like a lit pumpkin he shouted: I'm carrying love! Mine and God's!


I am not beautiful. Nor am I voluptuous, or in any way considered slinky. I'm not one of those icy blondes or sizzling redheads or darkly smoldering brunettes. I'm one of those medium-brown ones. It was how I described myself, over the phone, to a reporter. But that conversation took place several years ago, when I would still talk to reporters; or just about anyone else who happened by and seemed somewhat sane. Back then I would wave to garbage collectors, and chat with the mailman if he came while I was pulling weeds in my front garden.

As for that phone conversation with the reporter - that was where my life took a sudden turn: into the life I live now. And have no intention of changing. Though back then, I wasn't aware.



Copyright 2007 by Susan Tepper

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