To my delight, it was little more than a coincidence that these two strangers were up and about at this time of night. As with most interactions that we realize the other party is not seeking instantly to harm us, my fears were quite instantly set at ease. Whether or not this new interaction would lead to some future sordid manipulation was yet to be determined. Alas, it is like that with most people I have encountered. At once, I became less conscious of ventricles of my heart at work and dressed myself in a more pleasant air and made my way out of the tent.
By the glow that was coming from my tent earlier, I had no doubt that I could be seen plainly for several hundred feet. I came out with my hands in the air, so as not to startle anybody and saying calmly, “At ease, at ease. Good evening…”
As the first of two men made their way towards me, one of them nearly split his skull after tripping on one of the tent cords. The other, more graceful, or more practiced, walker approached with a hand outstretched. “Please forgive us if we startled you. I suppose it is an odd hour of the night to receive unexpected visitors.”
Reflexively, I grabbed his hand and wrapped my thumb and remaining four fingers comfortably around his palm. I have this way of shaking another’s hand where I do not shake at first, but rather hold the hand softly in my own. This can often be misjudged by strangers, but it gives me the opportunity to make a quick assumption of their character.
To be continued…