“Every single woman has a scary story about a man.”
My first scary story happened when I was 11 years old. My mom dropped me off at the school gym for a dance class one Saturday morning. She had to work and couldn’t pick me up, so she arranged for her friend Ms. Bobbie to take me home.
At the end of class, we all stood at the curb where moms were doing pick up. I waited, but there was no car for me. Soon, I found myself standing in front of the gym all alone. I waited for what seemed to me a fair amount of time, trying to figure out what I should do. I considered walking home, which was absurd because we lived several miles from the school and my town didn’t even have sidewalks.
Eventually I decided to walk down to a corner store a few blocks from the school. As I set out, a gold car pulled up next to me. A lone man was inside. He had dark hair and a mustache. He called out to me and tried to get me to come to his car window. He seemed to be asking me directions. At first, I was startled. I looked around. Was he talking to me? Why would he be talking to me? I was just a little girl.
I mumbled something like “I don’t know” and kept walking with my head down. He drove slowly next to me, still trying to get me to come up to his car, but I ignored him. Eventually he drove off.
But he didn’t leave. He drove around the block and came back again. I hid in the bushes where I hoped he wouldn't see me or at least couldn’t talk to me. He continued to circle the block. I slowly made my way toward the corner store and continued to hide when he came back around.
Once at the store, I called my mom at work. I don’t know if I had a dime for the payphone or maybe someone gave me one. I do know that I didn’t feel the full extent of my fear until I got there, where people were, and I knew I was safe. A place someone would certainly help a scared little girl who was all alone.
My mom was furious. She called Ms. Bobbie. Turns out her teenage son had ridden off on his bicycle with her car keys in his pocket. Looking back on it, it’s shocking that she just left me out there – as it was then to my mother.
That afternoon Mom called the police, and we made a report. I thought it was all over. But one week later, the police came to our house. They had a composite drawing they wanted me to look at. It was taken from a woman in the next town, who had been raped by a man who broke into her apartment.
It was him.
I was 11 years old.