Hunted And The Hunter

A couple of scary, little, dating stories for Saturday night readers, hehe. xxxooo ASM

Part I

 

One evening, an old boyfriend and I ducked into a bookstore during a cloudburst. We hadn’t thought to bring an umbrella and the bookstore looked so inviting. It smelled musty, like old papers in an attic might, and the wooden floors creaked. It was a place where you felt the need to whisper.

There was a man sitting on a chair behind the counter. He looked unkempt, with stringy hair hanging into his eyes, and he wore a stained ‘I love New York’ t-shirt. Boyfriend and I, together, sought out the self-help books. My beau wasn’t the type to source mechanical texts or even adventure novels. He was more apt to ooh and aah at the latest craze at making ourselves better people.

Suddenly, the proprietor appeared with a small chalkboard, pushing it towards me, compelling me to read. On the board was written, “Everything in the Store 20% Off!”

I nodded, okay, and presumed he was speech impaired.

We didn’t stay long. I began to develop an uneasy feeling. We agreed that we should leave and moved swiftly for the door. The owner suddenly jumped up from his chair and bounded toward us, waving his chalkboard. He reeked of alcohol.

“Get out of store. Don’t come back!” was now menacingly written on his plaque.

“Okay, then—” I turned to leave, when I realized that my boyfriend, Mister Sensitive, was standing, frozen, attempting to decipher the special message just given to him. I grabbed his arm and yanked. Outside, we ran and barely reached twenty steps when the crazed bookstore man came running out and took pursuit. I realized something at that moment.

I’ve been with men who are in touch with their feminine side. Guys that spend more time sniffing essential oils than I do, and they are not afraid to tell me that they were driven to tears the night before over something I said. At first, I liked the camaraderie, the side-by-side vegetable chopping, and joint gossip. I enjoyed the giggling—and revealing one’s imperfections with absolute abandon. Dyeing eyebrows and hair together became a Saturday night plan. However, I never felt safe with these guys. A drunken bookstore owner chasing us down the street, with my ‘in-touch-with-his-sensitive-side’ boyfriend running past me, made this revelation clear.

Now, any man with modest fortitude might have done something. I instinctively ran, and like some Forrest Gump dream, I yelled at my compassionate partner to run, too. And he did. We ran an entire city block with a deranged bookstore owner chasing after us.

“Let’s cross the street!” I stopped traffic, so that the two of us could dash to the other side. Boyfriend held my hand and followed. The crazed assailant finally gave up.

“Who’s supposed to protect who, Mom?” my son asked, exasperated upon hearing the wild account.

And then I met Gregorio. I knew he was a different kind of guy when he told me he goes hunting in the woods…

 

Part II

 

“Duck hunting?” I asked. My father and brothers were duck hunters. I would often join them, sitting frozen in a prairie farmer’s field, waiting. Then the sudden, violent crack of a gun blowing off jolted me out of a daydream, and me and my youngest brother would run in scattered directions to capture the kill. I remember watching ‘the cleaning’ from the basement steps, with my cat meowing and pacing at the scent of wild meat. My dad split the birds open with his knife and his hands, stained red with blood.

“No, sweetie, I hunt deer,” Gregorio explained and mistook the look of shock on my face for interest. “I only kill one and I stock my freezer with the meat. I know how to kill an animal the proper way—without spoiling the meat—and without being cruel to the animal. I am an excellent marksman and I will kill it instantly.”

Gregorio continued with his lecture, “What makes me a better hunter? When I am in the bush, I don’t look for the whole animal. I look for a piece—like an ear, the tail—but never the whole of the animal. I never come home disappointed. I am that good.”

In the short time I knew him, the subject of hunting seemed to pop up often, little ducks in a shooting gallery.

One afternoon, we trumped down the wooden stairs leading to the beach and I noticed a few crimson, dried leaves.

“Look, Gregorio, the first sign of fall!”

“The first sign of hunting season,” was his response.

He became anxious as autumn approached. He told me a story of his cousin George, who owns an acreage and has deer trespassing through his property.

“George said he’s going to take his bow and arrow and kill one. He hunts with a bow and arrow. He is a good shot. But I told him not to do that. These animals are his friends. He should go out into the woods and kill one, if that’s what he wants to do.”

Gregorio tells me the sport is in his blood and that he’s hunted with his dad and uncles since he was sixteen years old. I noticed that he carries a knife with him at all times. Sunbathing on the beach, the knife lays glinting in the sun within arm’s reach. For the first time in my life, I felt safe with a man.

I know he hunts and I know he’s capable of killing an animal, but his obsession with hunting wasn’t so clear to me—until I saw two pictures on the wall of his computer room. The photos show Gregorio in his hunting gear, a rifle slung over his shoulder, and he’s holding up the head of a deer with impressive antlers.

It took me a few moments to comprehend the animal was real—and shot dead by Gregorio’s own bullet. The look on Gregorio’s face in that picture was a look familiar to me. I sat down at the computer and brought up his photo albums. I scrolled through until I found the pictures taken on our second date. We had met at a restaurant, by the beach, and he asked the waiter to take our picture. There it was. He had his arm around me and wore that same look on his face.

 

Hunted And The Hunter © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read more of Adrienne’s dating exploits and outdoor adventures—click her tag.

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  1. […] level of importance in his life. I wanted to reciprocate, but the day he ran past me in fear when a crazy drunken bookstore owner pursued us, I knew that I wanted a man who would be capable of protecting […]



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