By: Katelyn Colter
It was my junior year of high school. I was walking home after school on a wintery day, and the walk was pretty short since I lived five blocks away. My mom recently had a knee replacement surgery, and I was supposed to go home right after school so I could drive her to physical therapy. To give you a picture of how I looked walking home, my backpack was so full I couldn’t zip it up, I had two clarinet cases, I was carrying a textbook in my arms, and I was bundled up in my winter jacket and a hot pink hat. At that time, I also had a hand-me-down cell phone. It was a flip phone, and the battery lasted about five minutes before it would shut off.
I was two and a half blocks away from my house, and I noticed a steel gray car slowly driving behind me. I was walking on the sidewalk on the left side of the street, and when I looked back, I noticed the car was driving on the left side, the wrong side, of the street. Even though it was a side street, I was starting to get a little freaked out. At the end of that block, the car pulled off to the side, and a man stepped out of the car. I immediately tried to call my mom. She answered and I told her I would be home soon and that I loved her, and then my phone died. It was unusual for me to say “I love you” since my family doesn’t say that over the phone. I didn’t tell her I was being followed. I didn’t try to call the police. All I could think of at the time was that I was going to get home safely, and if the guy tried to get near me I would knock him out with one of my clarinet cases.
The man got back in his car and drove closer to me because I was further away from him. At this point I was one block away from home. I turned my phone back on and called my mom again. I told her I was almost home, but since I was carrying so much I was walking slower than normal. I told her she could start getting ready to go so that when I got home we could leave for physical therapy right away. My phone died again while I was talking to her. Again, I didn’t tell her I was being followed, but I believe I was crying at the time. I think I tried to hide it from her, but she may have picked up on the fact that something was wrong. I never did ask her if she could tell something was wrong.
For the last block I had to walk, I had to turn the corner. The man following me pulled his car off to the corner and stepped out of his car again. When he did that, I was very certain he was going to follow me on foot from there. I walked as fast as I could, which was not very fast with all the stuff I had. I kept looking behind me expecting to see him there, but he wasn’t. I still remember the exact feeling of relief I had when I stepped in the back door to my house and locked it behind me. I dropped all my stuff in the kitchen and went into the living room where my mom was sitting. I sat down on the couch in a state of shock. My mom knew something was wrong right away. The second she asked me I started uncontrollably sobbing. I eventually calmed down, and we called the police to report it, but I was in a state of shock for at least a couple weeks. The police never caught the guy. I never again walked home from school alone. I’m so unbelievably relieved that nothing serious happened to me, but this experience has definitely changed me. I’m always on guard, and I continue to look behind me when I walk anywhere.