Walking Alone

Justine Seymour - Hudson, Massachusetts
Entered on June 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I have heard countless stories about people getting themselves into awkward situations that they cannot always pull themselves out of. My parents are telling be about some and warning me of them almost daily. I always knew that they were telling the truth, but I never thought I would find myself in a situation that put me into that type of danger. Honestly, I thought I was better than the people who can tell those stories.

My parents, especially my mom, tell me every single time I leave the house not to go anywhere by myself; to always travel with a friend while running, walking down the street, or even going to the bathroom at a party or public place. My mother is always telling me that it can be dangerous and that “bad things” happen to people sometimes when they are alone. “You become vulnerable and a much easier target to others when you are by yourself,” she tells me. I knew that she was right. I had seen stories on the news about these sorts of situations before; people being kidnapped or abused. I understood that it happened, but it was always happening to other people that I have never even heard about before. Why would it happen to me? I would be fine.

Despite the warnings I received at least once a day, usually more, I went to the bathroom by myself one day while at the movies with several friends. It was a good movie and I knew that they did not want to leave it in order to walk to the bathroom with me. I decided to just go by myself and not disturb them from the movie. It was right down the hallway, maybe three doors down, and I figured I would be alright. To be honest, I did not give it very much thought.

I was walking to the bathroom, which was not far down the hall. It was unoccupied except for a middle-aged employee who was walking down the hall in the opposite direction. We passed each other and I went into the bathroom. On my way out of the bathroom, I noticed somebody standing outside the door. He was suspicious-looking in jeans and a slightly over-sized sweatshirt with his head down, chewing gum. He looked to be about my dad’s age, give or take a few years. I was walking down the hall when I heard a noise behind me. The guy had moved. He was no longer standing at the same spot on the wall, but was on the wall closer to me. I started to walk a bit faster and I noticed that he continued to follow me slyly down the hall. Luckily, the theater I was in was close by and I just about ran into it before anything could have happened. The situation was beginning to scare me.

Although nothing happened besides me feeling suspicious, I never went to the bathroom alone again. Even when the movie gets exciting, one of my friends always comes with me. I am afraid that if something like that were to happen again, I would not be able to get out of it the way I had before. It could have been nothing, but I want to be safe.

I had been warned about these types of situations more times in my life than I can count. My parents have always been tried to glue the idea in my head. I always had remembered it, but never acted on it. I realized then that people learn more from their own experiences than from hearing about others’. Once they have the experience, it is something they may relive and never forget the feelings they had been having. It becomes more than just somebody else’s story or a possibility, it becomes a memory. I believe that people cannot learn from others’ experiences and warnings the way they are able to learn from themselves. We learn best from ourselves.