My little brother and I were shooting baskets in the driveway on Sunday afternoon when the rust colored sedan with screws down the side slowly drove by our house–two days after it had pulled into our driveway after dark on Friday night. My dad was in the garage doing something to his fishing boat. I dropped the basketball.
“Dad! The guy…the car that followed Pokey and me…it’s out front again!”
He ran out of the garage to look; the car sped up a bit and went down the road. We jumped into Dad’s brown ’83 Suburban and followed.
The sedan sped by my neighbors’ houses, up the hill, and slowed at the stop sign where he’d parked to pursue me a week or two before. We nearly caught up to him; he turned left down the sledding hill and then increased his speed as he wound around the curves that hugged the shoreline of Old Hickory Lake and headed out of the neighborhood. A 20′ Suburban can’t take curvy roads with much speed or grace, so a few minutes later, the sedan was out of sight. We stopped pursuing and drove home.
I never saw the car again.
Its story became fodder for sleepovers when my friends and I would tell scary stories after midnight in junior high, but I otherwise did my best to not think about it. I never took Pokey for a walk around our neighborhood again.
I wrote it on a blog I want my children to read one day, because I want them to always be vigilant…aware of their surroundings and of people or things that seem out of place. And I want them to understand why we moved out of the city and into a suburb 2 years ago, why I’m meticulous about locking doors at night and setting the alarm, why I make sure car doors are locked when we’re in traffic in the city, why I freak out when they run to a ringing doorbell to open it without knowing who’s on the other side, why I don’t watch horror movies or read horror books, why I disappeared for a long time after reading the July 2011 Esquire article about Dr. Petit on vacation in Woods Hole 3 summers ago, why I always run if I need to take the trash to the curb or get the mail after 10pm, etc. etc. etc.
Most of all, I want them to never know what it feels like to have a stranger try to take them away.
Truth bombs, right there. Am grateful every day that you were never snatched off the street by someone with ill will.
Ditto to what Pretty Bride said. I’m a stickler for safety, too, but for different reasons. I had it drilled into me by my policeman father. He came home one night, late, looked at me and said, “We found a little girl, in the woods. Her face peeled off. Do what I tell you to do from now on, alright?”
I never questioned him after that. Doors locked. Shades down. Alert in dark parking lots. Everything checked and rechecked.
Love you, hon!
Gross! I’m sure your childhood dinner conversations made you lose your appetite sometimes! Glad someone as rational as you has my same habits!
It’s a scary world out there. You have a happy ending – you are okay. Yet, it’s hard to shake the what if’s. We so want to protect our families from any kind of harm. Sometimes, we don’t know what is right in front of us.