I’m a 31 year old female, I’m small in stature at 4’11 and I know full well that I’m prime victim material. Because of this I try to be hyper aware of everything going on around me. Sometimes it’s just catching someone’s gaze and feeling that knot in my stomach, but I believe listening to my instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. I don’t take risks, I’m very careful and tend to think of all the impossible situations I could land in and what I would do. Maybe this is unhealthy but can you really blame me? It’s a dangerous world out there, and it’s only gotten scarier since I became a mother. I simply couldn’t live if anything happened to my Daughter (who I will call GG), and that’s why this is the scariest instance I’ve been in with her.
Its important to note that I’m an Empath meaning that I can sense peoples energies and emotions. I’ve learned the hard way not to ignore when my gut tells me something. It’s also worthy of note that my child is gorgeous, blonde hair, bright blue eyes, she’s angelic and lots of people make comments about her, or look and smile. That’s normal and it never bothers me. which is why this situation still haunts me.
My daughter’s father and I broke up shortly after her first birthday. It was an ugly break up and the trust simply wasn’t there to let my ex have her alone. And because of the nature of our breakup I didn’t trust being alone with him either. So we’d meet at McDonald’s and have some dinner while he played with GG. We did this many times and had become familiar with the staff. More often than not it was after the dinner rush so the restaurant might have one or two people using the internet. We’d always find a place in the back where there was booths along the wall and windows and a little cubby like area with a few more booths and a tall round table in the middle. We’d chosen one of the booths in this little alcove because it was private. Things were going well, my Ex and I were growing friendlier again and we were having a good time.
After a little while a tall middle aged man, with a balding head and glasses came in. With him was a little girl no older than maybe 7 or 8. They chose the tall table, which irked me a little because there were tons of places to sit and they were practically on top of us. I probably wouldn’t have really noticed them if the man hadn’t let his gaze linger on GG a little too long when they passed us. He never said hello, or what a pretty girl she was like most people who notice her. And that made me feel funny. I was sitting on the side of the table that faced them, the little girl was facing me while the man’s back was too me. I think I would have ignored them had I not caught the man making every excuse to grab a peek at my little girl.
I heard him say to the little girl ‘do you want me to fix your pony tail?’, which was odd because it was fine, not a strand was loose. I watched him as he got up and started too mess with her hair, all the while looking up at my little girl. He caught me staring at him and catching him looking and he’d just look away. But it became a game, like he was trying to steal looks when I wasn’t watching him. Which was never. My maternal instinct was going off like a tornado siren. I felt the sudden need to bail with my daughter. But I kept trying to reason it away. At least I had my ex, he’s a former soldier and I know he’s got our backs. But the whole situation was bothering me. This just didn’t feel normal.
The little girl didn’t seem distressed by him, though I didn’t really watch her as much as him. She didn’t look like his daughter, he was fair skinned and she had darker skin and black hair. He also never seemed to talk to her like most fathers do. I spoke up and told my ex that the man was looking at GG and that it was making me uncomfortable. He tried to calm me and tell me to ignore them. But I couldn’t. It wasn’t until I saw him awkwardly take out his phone, as if he was trying to look like he was checking it, but there was an uncertainty about the way he drew it out. He never brought it up to the table like a normal person would. He held it under the table and looked like he was angling it toward GG.
I’d had enough right there, he was trying to sneak pictures of my baby. My anxiety was through the roof and I felt close to tears. I told my ex we needed to leave and he obliged and helped me gather our things. As I picked GG up I glanced at the man who had abandoned his little coy game and turned around in his chair, looking directly at me. Just stared obviously like he knew I knew.
I practically ran out of there. It was terrifying, in ways that I think only a parent could understand. I don’t know what that man was thinking, I don’t want to know. But the most unsettling thing was that he had a little girl with him. If he was a pedo then what about her? I still feel guilty about leaving when I had such a terrible feeling about someone, and leaving a young kid with him. But what could I do? Call the cops because some creeper was looking at my daughter and I was suspicious? I hope more than anything that I was just being paranoid. But my gut is NEVER wrong…