When Florenz didn’t stop at City Hall, what Felicity thought was the most likely destination, she thought that perhaps Florenz had discovered she was following him, and this would end up a wild goose chase.
But, when he continued walking slowly up Broadway towards Times Square, she began to think perhaps he was just out for a morning walk to his next appointment. In the short distance past the entrance to the park, he had stopped to look at his watch, then his cell phone, as if he was checking one against the other.
Then, as he started walking again, he bumped into a man who was walking quickly, making the collision more than it might have been. Florenz dropped his phone, the other man, who had staggered a few steps before regaining control, turned and told Florenz to watch where he was going, then continued on his way at the same breakneck speed.
Florenz turned to watch him leave, then started scanning the path behind him, and then his eyes coming back up the other side of the road where Felicity, thinking quickly on her feet, moved into a doorway that made her look as if she was going into the building.
That action lost her a valuable minute, and when she came back out onto the street, immediately looking where he was last standing, he’d gone. Then, she looked further up the street and saw him, just, crossing the next intersection at Reade Street.
It looked to her like he had almost run to get that far in such a short time.
Or he considered he was late for that appointment, and just walked fast.
She took the calculated risk of almost running herself to catch up, stopping still some distance from him, having to wait for traffic lights at both Duane and Thomas Streets, and by the time she crossed Thomas Street, Florenz had stopped at the Worth Street intersection and was checking his phone.
At least it was a good morning for a walk. Rain had been predicted, the clouds were scudding by overhead, getting darker by the minute, and she was hot from the continuous exercise of walking fast, then slow.
By the time Florenz checked his phone, she had caught up and was now seriously considering a sandwich, or coffee. Had she more time she might have, but she had to cross and then dodged some scaffolding almost walking into it her attention so intent on where Florenz was.
It was a moment where losing concentration, by the time she looked up, he was gone again.
Damn, this fellow is slippery. Or he knew he was being followed.
But a few seconds later she realized he had crossed the road, dodging several cars and taxis, a lot more dangerous than if he crossed at the lights. Or had he just realized he was on the wrong side of the road?
At the intersection, Franklin Street, the scaffolding ended, and the next building would provide no cover. She was maintaining about 20 yards distance between them, and she stopped when he did at the lights.
When they turned green, he didn’t immediately cross, but turned around and looked directly back towards her. She almost missed his movement and, in her haste, to backtrack to the start of the scaffolding and a store she had seen there, she ran into a woman who was coming out of the store.
It caused the woman to drop a package.
All Florenz would have seen if he was looking in her direction was her back and a red-faced woman accepting a package.
He would not have heard her say abruptly to Felicity, “You should watch where you’re going, young lady.”
Nor hear her apology, in her meekest tone, “So sorry.”
The woman continued on her way, and Felicity followed behind her slowly, scanning ahead to see if she could see Florenz.
For the moment he was missing.
Felicity caught up with him at Canal Street, once again the traffic lights her friend in need, the lights just changing and there he was, at the head of several others crossing the street.
She kept back until the lights just changed, then walked quickly across, and then stopped.
Florenz had disappeared.
© Charles Heath 2020
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