I recently finished reading Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Like Alice, I went on a little trip.
:: Years Ago ::
There was someone at the door. I heard the knocking and went directly to the top of the staircase. Looking downward, I couldn’t see the person so I called out, asking them to tell me who they were. I heard the name “Larry”. Perhaps it’s what I wanted to hear when in fact, the name spoken to me was “Gary”. I pressed the buzzer, which unlocked the lower door. In walked someone I recognized but was startled to see. We had a past but no present together.
Our past together was quite brief – one night, in fact. It was nothing like anyone would think. We had met in a bar where he was with his brother and I was with my roommate. We chatted a bit here and there but were obviously awkward with each other. When the night was coming to an end, my roommate suggested he drive me home as she decided she wanted to spend more time with his brother. I was quite fine with that suggestion. I remember getting into his car, ignoring the seat belt. I’d come to regret this.
We were driving along, when suddenly another car came riding up behind us. I remember Gary racing ahead while the other car chased us. I panicked, yelling at him to stop. He proceeded to drive erratically from street to street. Suddenly, he braked. I remember the force of my body being thrown forward. The pain of my head hitting the windshield was agonizing.
I was dazed for only a moment before I was further terrified by at least two men walking up to the car. I will never forget the words of one of them. I still hear them in every nightmare. He said, “Get the girl!”. To my shock, Gary started to crank down the window. I screamed and cried while savagely scrambling to make sure both doors were locked. Gary seemed to be in a daze as he continued to roll down the window. Did he hear my cries? Why was he opening the window? I pleaded for him to drive away.
I remember the moment he drove away. I felt a relief I will never be able to describe. I was in incredible pain, which was not surprising considering the windshield’s damage. I don’t think Gary said anything more to me other than to suggest I come to his apartment so I wouldn’t be alone. He was concerned I had a concussion. I did agree to stay with him as I didn’t want to be alone.
That night is a blur to me. I spent it on his couch, looking out a window that was at sidewalk level. From what I can recall, he sat near me for much of the time. I was exhausted and in pain but he worked to keep me awake for fear of what sleep would cause if I did have a concussion. When I left in the morning, I took from him stories of his family and a feeling of genuine care.
I should not have been so naive.