Updated: Jan 13, 2018
There have been a few times I've almost been kidnapped abroad. Luckily, all those movies, TV shows, books, classes, my parents, girl scouts, saved me. Everything I've learned growing up, but also just pure luck. Here is one of those stories.
Chile, May 15 2009, I asked my host family for a ride home from my Rotary meeting I had in the city that night. They denied my request, saying Darcie, the previous foreign exchange student, always had to walk home. So after the meeting in the city, I walked home at 10:00pm alone. Almost home, I walked past a bush that was in-between two houses.
Having walked past it, an older Chilean man in his late thirties jumps in front of me and said "BOO!" I didn't scream or jump, but just looked at him in disgust, thinking "what the fuck, is this real life!?"
We were on a busy street, but there were no cars. It was dark outside, but the street lights were on. No one else was around. He started walking with me a little bit more down the sidewalk, asking me questions in Spanish.
"Did I scare you?"
"Are you French?"
"Do you want to go on a walk with me?"
"Do I know you from somewhere?"
"Do you know who I am? You know me."
"Do you live in this house?"
I didn't realize I was holding on for dear life to the gated fence behind me in front of my house. He tried to convince me that we knew each other from somewhere. He pleaded that I go on a walk with him, and that I was breaking his heart by saying no. It doesn't do any one any good, being a kind person and going on a walk with a complete stranger in the dark, alone, so you don't break his god damn heart. Absolutely not. I didn't realize till later, that there was a dark street coming up at the end of the block, that he could have dragged me down, and no one would have seen or heard. I stood my ground, denied all his questions, held onto the fence, and watched him walk away after I continuously asked him to leave me alone.
I went inside to tell my host family about it, shaking. After something tragic happens, you find your hands clammy and shaking. Your muscles, stiff. You are on hyper-alert mode, eyes wide open. Finding it hard to breath.
I don't remember them caring.
I rushed upstairs to call my boyfriend at the time. As I began to explain what had happened, my tears broke through. I couldn't get the words out of my mouth. I was shaking so hard, that my words were shaking. He didn't understand a word I said.
No one seemed to care. And that was the last of it.
Although no one cared, and no one really believed me, I still remember how scared I was. I remember his shadow behind me. I remember holding on tight to the fence. I remember the dark street up ahead. And I remember shaking.
Was he going to kidnap me? Rape me? Or did he genuinely just want to go on a walk with a pretty sixteen year old girl?