I see him from a distance these days. As I approach the dingy alleyway, I know that he is pressed up against the wall. His face hidden away from the light. His dirty paws (Lord knows where they have roamed) spread out wide, stuck to the stuccoed surface from which they will not move easily. Some days he wanders into my territory. Catching me unawares, crossing me without warning. Forcing me to wince and make a detour. Hop, skip and jump away. Anything to avoid eye contact. But today he lies still as the worst, most deceptive predator. Waiting for the right moment to peel himself away from the wall and saunter in front of an unsuspecting victim. Make her jump out of her akin, her teeth chatter and her hair stand on end. And I an terrified. Because I can now sense these tendencies from afar. Even as I know his head is turned away from me , I can feel his cold steely eyes stuck on me. I can almost relive the rubbery, mottled touch of his spotty digits that have on occasion brushed against me. I can see the subtle and timely flick of his ugly tongue. The evil glint in his beady eyes. And the sick joy I feel I can see in them. For he knows I am terrorised by him. He knows the hold he has on me.
As I approach the dark spot, I brush these thoughts aside. Steele myself for I have to cross it and get to the other side. That’s when I hear it.
Puch puch puch puch. Like dirty kisses in the air. Like a warning sign that despite all my positive thinking he is bound to let go of his spot in the dark and venture out in front of me.
My palms get clammy and the hair at the bak of my neck stiffens, sending a feathery shiver down my spine.
Puch! PUCH puch! PUCH! There it is again. Sick squelchy reminders of the fear that grips my heart. It is getting tighter. And I’m getting breathless.
How much longer will I suffer this fear I wonder. How can I function this way I ask myself again. With a mix of mild irritation at myself and disgust at the sick creature that threatens me, I walk on. Big strides. Outwardly unafraid. Wilting within.
And that’s when I see him. Right on cue. Walking right in front of me. Making that disgusting kissing sound again.
Puch puch puch puch. The lizard in my balcony.