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A true story.

I was walking up South Avenue to the Long Island Railroad from campus one afternoon. Something I had done hundreds of times since I began matriculating at Adelphi University. 

I was headed into Manhattan for no particular reason, other than a change of scenery on a bright summer day. For someone who had grown up in the suburbs of Long Island, the city was new and exciting just to be in. I liked to go to Central Park on any given summer day and people watch, imagining the stories behind the faces milling about.

It was only about a ten minute walk to the station, and I usually daydreamed the entire time, lost in should-be-doings, and I-wish I-coulds. 

On this particular day my attention was drawn to a tall, gaunt figure walking in the opposite direction, moving in a stream of people ambling toward campus. He was fifty yards away, or more, but his demeanor was so blank, I was at a loss to imagine the story behind the face.

As we passed one another I rudely scrutinized him as best I could in the short time. He radiated a queer energy and I almost shivered thinking how different, and unique, an individual he was.

This brief encounter forgotten as quickly as it came and went, I rode the train into Penn station, another opportunity to daydream as the click-clack of the tracks lulled me into a semi-nap.

I was immediately energized when I stepped off the train into the barely controlled chaos of the city. I climbed the steps and made my way to the number one train and took the local to 59th street and walked to the south entrance of Central Park, eager to a buy a falafel and enjoy some sights.

As I rounded the corner to enter the park I saw the man from South Avenue walking towards me. I froze in my tracks. Here was this person, odd in so may ways, whom I had encountered only a little over an hour ago.

Well above six feet, he walked hunched over, his eyes on his shoes as he loped along past me without so much as a glance.

Over thirty years later I can still see this eerie, tall, Peter Boyle (the actor who played the Frankenstein monster in the film Young Frankenstein) looking figure, and couldn’t help wondering how he got back to the city and why our paths crossed again.

M. Zane McClellan

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The Daily Post Prompt: Eerie

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