I was walking home about 11 o'clock at night. I had been down at the dam with all the other kids from town. It was a moonless, summer evening and I was a little nervous walking down my black street. I had just started down the long stretch of road ahead of me before I would round the curve in the road that held my house.
When I was young, I was afraid to be alone at night. We lived in a small mountain town of 3000 people. In the early days, the whole town closed up by 6 p.m. Everyone was home from work by then and there was not much reason for people to be out after that during the week.
It was dark at night. Not alot of streetlights and we were away from the lights of the city. Many of the homes were summer cabins that stood empty a good portion of the year. I loved that small town atmosphere. We lived fairly close to downtown, such as it was, on the river. Such a beautiful piece of property that held walnut trees, maples, and winding pathways through mounds of ivy. The paths were lined with rocks that we had hauled up from the riverbank in back. The house itself was single wall heart redwood. Even the built-in shelves were redwood. Gorgeous! It looked like a log cabin from the outside, with a huge porch in front, but from the inside it was varying shades of red and cream.
I would lay in bed at night, worrying about what was out there in the dark, waiting to "get me." I tortured myself with the thought that if that dreaded situation did find me, that I might not be able to scream. I would be paralyzed with fear, unable to move, to protect myself. I struggled with that thought over and over again.
That night, walking by dark windows and closed up houses, I saw a sillouette of someone walking in my direction at the other end of the street. I slowed down, thinking to myself that the person walking toward me walked like a man. He moved to the side of the road, close to the bushes, as if waiting there for me to pass. I crossed to the other side of the street and so did he. My breath came faster now and I could feel my heart start to race. I could turn around but there would be nobody left in town, and the only way home was down this street. I crossed back to the right-hand side and he did the same. He was getting closer and I was looking wildly around me, gasping for air, hoping to see a light on somewhere. My heart was literally pounding in my chest. As he grew closer still, I could feel the paralyzing fear grab my throat. I would not be able to scream. I would not be able to stop the heinous thing that was about to happen to me. Moving to the middle of the road, he was a couple of yards in front of me when he jumped to grab me! I threw my head back and screamed at the top of my lungs!
"Oh my God! I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! It's just me. I was kidding. I'm so sorry!" As my knees buckled, my friend grabbed me again, but this time to keep me from hitting the asphalt. Relief ran down my cheeks in tears as he held me, whispering over and over again how sorry he was. Jerk!