September 26, 1970
As two young men in a small car continued to follow me home from school, my fear grew. I tried to make sense of their tailgating, puzzling over what their intentions were and why they picked me.
Gut instinct told me I might be in some real trouble. Had they just randomly seen me as I turned onto the expressway ramp? Or had they watched me get into my car in the school parking lot? Did they know where I worked?
One thing was sure: I couldn’t lead them to where I lived. But where would I go?
Questions tumbled into my mind, distracting me from driving. I was in the left lane going 80 mph in a car that sounded like it was about to explode when their car came alongside on the right, both men glaring at me. I tried not to look, not to show fear.
When I was half way home, they swerved to my other side, coming up on the left. This was really dangerous, since they were then driving on the shoulder.
I wished with all my might a squad car would come out of nowhere with lights flashing to pull them over for reckless driving. When I saw a giant light pole coming in their path, I thought they were going to crash right into it! But they swerved back on the highway just in time.
But snatching glances at the cars around me, I knew if I caused a crash, it would be fatal. We were going too fast. My heart was in my throat, and I began to think about Nate. Oh how I wished he was with me! What sensible thing would he suggest?
Dark despair flooded me. “Oh God!” I shouted. “Please, please help me! I don’t know what to do!”
We continued on, and as we came within 10 miles of home, very suddenly these men pulled to the far right and zoomed off an exit ramp — and they were gone! I felt like wailing with relief but knew I had to hold myself together to get safely home.
As I got off the highway several miles later, I came to the first stop sign of my journey and went to downshift. That’s when I realized I’d driven 40 miles at high speed with the car in 2nd gear the whole way. No wonder it had resisted my push on the gas pedal and sounded so loud! Oh, how I hoped I hadn’t ruined the engine.
I pulled in front of our building and raced up the steps two at a time, bursting through the door and throwing myself into Nate’s arms – and the anguished wailing came out.
He held me tightly, waiting for me to calm down enough to tell him – and after I did, I stayed wrapped in that place of safety for a long, long time.