a rose for a stranger
she met her at the bar. they just happened to be sitting next to one another when a conversation between the two started. she doesnt remember how it did, but it did, thats the way things go with her.
her name is rosa and shes from Nicaragua. only been in the country for a month or so, at least thats what she tells everyone. shes pretty, in her early thirties with short dark hair and big, excited eyes that always seemed to be opened as wide as they can be. shes not too tall, and is rather thin, but with generous hips, such as her lineage offered.
i met her a few weeks ago while i was bartending. she came and sat at the end of the bar and ordered a glass of white wine. she crossed her legs, lady like, on the stool, and quietly observed the room while it filled up with the late night thursday crowd. i didnt talk to her much, i usually let a new customer breathe a bit before i strike up conversation, but it wasnt long before someone sat next to her and she began chatting them up in her innocent "im new here and just want to make friends" way.
it was a guy that sat next to her that night, someone i knew, a good looking fellow who was waiting for a date to show. rosa, once he sat down, introduced herself with her small, thin hand extended in greeting. he took it and looked her in the eye and smiled. well this works, he thought, a pretty girl introducing herself to me. not bad.
before she got up to sit at another stool which wrapped around the other end of the bar, she had given him her number and made him promise to call. then he gave her his number and confirmed the promise. i watched the whole thing go down from the corner of my eye, so when he relayed the interaction to me later i just nodded my head, already knowing. my barback that night got the same treatment. she introduced herself to him, her huge eyes batting and her full lips pouting, her legs still crossed and her wine glass still half full, and explained how she was new to the country and was eager to meet new friends. then gave him her number and made him promise to call, and took his to confirm the promise. you should take me dancing, she said, with her head cocked so that she looked up at him, making her eyes even larger, and he agreed that yes, he should.
i found the situations slightly strange —its not often a pretty girl offers herself up like that— but wrote it off as cultural differences and an enthusiasm for attention on her part. for some reason i kept my distance from her though, i have an aversion towards being seduced (it makes me feel vulnerable), and thought whatever game she was playing id prefer not to partake in. that and, for some reason alarm bells went off in my head when she was around. there was something slightly off about her anxious approach towards people. pretty people, ive learned —and make no mistake she is pretty— dont have to show such longing for companionship. she seemed to be a little too eager for notice. for some reason it didnt add up.
then last night rosa came in again, and sat down at the bar next to a girl i slightly know. she was alone as always, her wide eyes scanning the room and her thin legs crossed in her stool, and a conversation was struck up between the two, and a new friend was made.
they left together later that night. i didnt think anything of it. they paid the tab and tipped me well and were out the door, slightly drunk, arm in arm as if they'd known each other forever. i didnt know where they were going and didnt much care. two girls out on the town, perhaps heading to another bar to meet some guys with unfamiliar faces. have fun ladies, good luck with that.
then in the tail end of the night, while i was out front smoking a cigarette and the bar was mostly empty and the barback was starting his closing duties, the girl i slightly know rode back up on her bike.
hey, she said, did you know that girl i was talking to?
slightly, i answered, but not too well.
she sighed and blew her bangs from her face. is she a little crazy? she asked
i laughed. i little, i suppose. why?
i think she just tried to give me a drugged drink, she replied soberly.
i gasped quietly and smiled because it was the only thing i could think to do after getting that information. the girl then went on to explain to me how rosa offered her a glass of water repeatedly, holding the glass to her face so that she drank THAT water. and no matter how many times she casually declined, rosa kept offering it. pushing it on her. desperate for her to take a sip. a sip of that water, no other water.
the girl began to feel more uncomfortable than she already did, her discomfort initially being because she had been coerced to go up into rosa's apartment, and before she could say anything rosa had offered to "put something more comfortable on," and retreated to her bedroom before materializing with the glass of water in hand. the girl, a very sane one by my own assessment, began to almost panic when she realized that she was being somewhat preyed upon. without waiting for an answer, the girl hastily readied herself, made a thousand excuses on why she had to leave, and headed for the exit. as she was walking down the hall, a burning fear tickling the edges of her skin, rosa called after her.
hey i forgot to get your number, she yelled.
i dont have a pen, the girl lied.
oh, ok just call my phone and ill save it, rosa held the phone in her hand and patiently, with a smile on her face and her large eyes beaming at her.
oh, ok, the girl pulled out her phone and, by the graces of god, it was dead. sorry, she shrugged, i guess we'll have to just see each other around.
rosa smiled. we will, she said.
thats when the girl road her bike back to the bar to ask me what i thought of her. if perhaps maybe she was being dileriously paranoid. if perhaps those were false alarms ringing in her head. but i confirmed it. no, rosa was a little off.
i knew she was weird, but i didnt think she was ax murderer weird, i joked.
the girl, looking off into the dark night sky, didnt smile.