Wednesday, March 05, 2008

When You Realize

I was over at Jenster's where she let us in on an embarrassing tale of doing something she shouldn't have and paying the consequences. It reminded me of a time when I listened to all my senses and thankfully did the right thing.

I should find a picture of myself when I was a 12 year old. I had reached my full height of 5'6", weighed maybe 100 lbs and was all legs. I was that young girl that looked like a newborn colt, all limbs and small body.

We lived in a small town and I walked to school with my best friend and usually had younger kids with us that we 'escorted'.

Now you all know I'm a nervous kind of person anyways. I have those infamous panic attacks and such and I'll go out on a limb and say I'm an extra cautious person and many of my friends would mock me by calling me 'mom'.

Also, we lived on the edge of town - we were in a newer subdivision and just outside the subdivision if you turned left you would end up on one of those rural highways. Since it was a new subdivision, I would often run through the open fields to get to my best friend's house which wasn't far away at all.

So it's lunch hour, spring or fall, I can't remember and I've left my house and am making my way to my friend's house where we may be getting a ride to school. Rides were awesome and we rarely turned them down. I once took a ride with a parent who told me she was picking up my best friend but she then drove by her house. I panicked but the mother told me there was no time to pick her up. My friend was furious with me cause she waited for me and was late for school. She told me I should have asked to be dropped off.

Uh, hi! Kid. Most parents wouldn't listen to a kid anyways. I think this happened before the story and maybe knowing my best friend would be mad also helped me to make the right decision.

So there I am, on the street in front of my house, I'm starting to run because I did so love to when was young and this car pulls up right in front of me and the passenger window is down.

I screech to a halt and stand there.

A man's voice comes out and asks if I'm heading to the high school.

Me: No, I'm heading to Elgin (name of the grade school that went to grade 8)

Man: Get in, I'll give you a ride.

Me: No thanks.

Man: I'm the principal at the high school and since I'm driving right past your school I'll drop you off.

I think I took a step back at this point. I didn't recognize the man or the car and I had the real sense that he was mad at me for making him explain himself.

Me: No thanks, my friend is waiting.

The best thing I ever did.

The man mumbled something and then drove off in a rush. My heart was racing because I had made an adult mad but I continued on to my friends' house. I never mentioned this to my mom or dad because I thought I would get in trouble for making 'my elder' mad. It was only as the years passed that I looked at the whole thing with new eyes.

I knew when he told me he was the principal of the high school that it wasn't true. I just didn't believe it and I think when I did finally meet the high school principal on a tour my brain protected itself even though it acknowledged that I had never met the man before.

It wasn't until years later that I told my mother the story and I know she was shocked (it occurs to me now that my mother would have known if the principal of the high school lived near us - they knew who everyone was). It is only in the past few years that the reality of what might have happened has really hit me. I think I've known for years that if I had got in that car I would never have been seen again but it wasn't as profound in my brain as it becomes as I get older.

After all, it was just a moment in time. Just a few minutes if even that many.

Who knows, maybe he really was the principal of the high school and was just offering a young girl a ride to school but I have to say I'm thankful for not getting in the car to find out.


Jenster said...

Oh Cindy! That's terrifying!! I'm so glad you had that sense.

What a good girl!!!

Kat O+ said...

I almost always got busted whenever I went for a little adventure. And there's the Catholic guilt afterwards. But, like you, I've had one or two experiences that I now look back on and think, That was so much creepier than I realised at the time. And felt relief that I followed my intuition.

Bookwormom said...

Yeah, good on ya for listening to the inner voice. Could've been really scary.

ReneeW said...

Cindy, your story just makes chills run down my spine. You had a lot of sense for someone that age. I'm so proud of you and I didn't even know you then.