Successful stalking


Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei by Kōji Kumeta, adapted by SHAFT

One time I tailed someone through a small shopping centre.

Today when I got off at a train station after a short bus ride, I recalled one occasion, way back in 2010, when I tailed someone through a local shopping centre at the station I uncommonly go to, which is directly connected to the train station. Arriving early, I had nothing to do so I stood around conspiciously at the station barrier, swiping my way through Twitter every now and then, simply biding away the time.

Suddenly, I spotted a friend passing through the ticket barriers, but rather than call out to them, I felt a compulsion to simply follow, keeping a discreet distance as I watched them from afar. On they strolled, searching for something, a large plastic bag clutched in their hand but nothing on their back but their usual shirt.

As they made a beeline for the public restroom, I simply continued onward, as if that was my intent all along. Ten metres down having overshot the short corridor, however, I stopped and stepped behind a pop-up stall, pretending to look at the wares as I waited for them to re-emerge.

Eventually they did, and they uneventfully returned the way they came, sauntering back to the station to the meeting spot, their head bobbing above the crowd of people meeting the station, back to where the both of us were meant to meet other members of our party on a journey a fair distance away to a mutual friend’s house for an important yearly occasion. When they had safely returned back to the station, I turned again and strode back the path we had both trekked before.

I made a round circle of the shopping centre, riding up a mysterious escalator, and emerged on the other side of the street from the train station as if intentionally, where this friend I had inadvertently stalked stood waiting for the pick-up. I looked both ways and crossed the street, walking over to join them.

Image top: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei by Kōji Kumeta, adapted by SHAFT