When I was 12-years-old, I lived near my 5th grade elementary school. So near that it was in sight of my house, so I would walk there after school and play with the kids that lived in the neighborhood behind it. I was friends with these kids, went to school with them, and we liked to hangout on the playground in the evenings.
One of our favorite things to do was penny drops. If you don’t know what these are, it is where you climb to the top of the swing-set (very high when you’re a kid), then you sit on the top and wrap your legs around the bar, then you drop back to where only your knees and legs are holding you to the swing-set, then you swing back and forth until you get up a pretty good momentum, then you release your legs while flipping yourself so that you land on your feet.
I thought the girl who showed me how to do this in the 5th grade was crazy, but I eventually got up the nerve to do it, and like I imagine it feels when you jump off a bridge or out of an airplane, it was very exhilarating when you let go of the swing-set and hope that you will get your body flipped around so that you land on your feet instead of your head!
We used to play there a lot, doing penny drops and playing on the merry-go-round. Some of these kids were a little older, some a year or 2 younger. We would talk about the stuff that young kids do and play tag or hide-and-go-seek.
One night after a very fun evening, everyone headed to their homes behind the school, and I headed up the road in front of the school towards my house. One of the boys that always hung out with our little group pulled up beside me on his motorcycle (so I’m assuming he was at least 16). This boy had always been a friend- or so I thought. I said hello, and when I looked at him he had a very evil look on his face.
Then he said to me “I’m going to push you into that gutter beside the road and rape you. How would you like that? What if I push you down right now and rip all of your clothes off? Maybe I’ll follow you home and then do it. I know your home alone.”‘
At first, I thought this was some sort of joke. Then as he continued with that ugly sneer on his face, I became very frightened. I walked as fast as I could toward my house, knowing that there was no one home and there wouldn’t be anyone home for quite a while. As I finally reached my driveway, I took off running up the hill to my house. He kept on driving. I had started crying when he was saying all of those ugly things to me, but I was all out bawling by the time I reached the house. I got into the house as quick as I could and locked all of the doors. I kept hearing the motorcycle go up and down the road in front of my driveway. I didn’t know what to do, so I called one of my friends that lived behind that school and told her what was happening, and she sent her “little” brother over in case this guy tried to make good on his threats. I was so happy to see little brother coming up my driveway. He stayed with me for close to an hour, until I didn’t hear anymore motorcycle sounds. I kept thanking him, because at least I wasn’t there all alone.
He was related to the motorcycle guy and said that he just couldn’t believe that he had said and done those things, that he must have been kidding- do you taunt a young girl like that while she’s crying her eyes out as a joke?
I was afraid for a while after that, my mom worked night shift at the bar and didn’t get home until 1:00am or later. I was always home alone, so I made sure that I made it home before it got dark from then on. I guess our minds think that things are always worse in the dark. I never went near that guy again. If he came around the playground, I left. I didn’t know what that little episode was all about, but I knew that I never wanted anything like that to happen again.
What if he would have done those things to me? It was a dark, lonely road and the houses were pretty spread apart, would anyone have heard me scream? What would he have done afterwards? These thoughts still haunt me but like many other times in my life, I think my guardian angel was right there to make sure I made it home safely.
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