This past week I’ve been extremely busy with college and have clearly not had time to eat. I now eat meal bars for lunch and sometimes dinner between classes when I don’t have time to eat. Recently while I was studying in the library and eating a decent lunch consisting of water and a turkey wrap when a young male introduces himself.
“Hi, I’m David. How are you today?” He smiles once I look at him.
“I am fine.”
“Mind if I sit down?” David asks as he proceeds to take the seat across from me.
“What? Sure. I’m just trying to get stuff done.” Flabbergasted, I drop my head back to my chemistry work.
“I believe I’ve seen you around. What’s your name?”
“My name is E.” Normally I’m kind and polite to strangers that engage in conversation with me but David was giving me bad vibes. I remember faces and I have never seen this guy.
David holds his hand out to shake, I shake it as I’m trying to find a way to get out of this situation now. I’m the only other person on this floor of the library. It’s the quiet floor for studiers. What do I do? He hasn’t done or said anything threatening. However, my gut tells me that I need to leave. Oh, he has a firm grip. I can feel myself begin to recoil. Hopefully my trepidation doesn’t show on my face.
“How old are you? I’m twenty-one, soon to be twenty-two.” He continues as he watches me.
I lie, “I just turned eighteen.”
“You’re pretty young. Actually, you’re pretty pretty.” He leans further towards me from across the table.
“I have class soon and need to concentrate on this assignment. You need to excuse yourself.” My heart is racing and my hands begin to tremble in my lap from fear or adrenaline. He seems insistent and possibly aggressive. I have my cell phone out in my lap now. I inconspicuously text multiple friends the same thing, “Call me now. ASAP. Get me out of here.”
“Well, there’s no need to have me leave; I have classwork too.” David gets a notebook and pencil from his book bag.
As I get ready to pack up my materials my phone rings. “Hello?”
My friend A on the phone says, “Where are you? Are you safe? I can meet you. ”
“Uh, I’m in the library. I’m getting there in that class, you know. What did you need?” I calmly respond as David looks at me.
“I called because you tell me the reason I called.”
I had to smile with that remark. “Oh, I can help you with math. Where do you want me to meet you?” A isn’t taking math this semester.
“Oh, gotcha. Can you meet me in the science building across the library? I’m there right now.”
“Yes, I’ll be there soon.” THANK YOU, A. THANK YOU!
“I’ll won’t hang up. Okay?”
“Yup, it’s fine.”
By now I have everything packed into my bag. David begins to scowl once I stand up. Quickly I say, “See ya”, and hurry to the elevators. I walk into the first one that opens. David hadn’t followed me, thank God. I stab the elevator button that has the number one on it. The elevator goes slides to the first floor. Before I exit, I push the other elevator floor buttons-just in case.
Once out of the library, I make sure David isn’t around (that I can see) and proceed to the science building to meet my beloved friend, A. I walk into the building and she’s in plain sight among students. We head to another floor, still populated with students (studying). And of course I explain everything. By now I’ve stopped shaking and the fear has subsided.
While at college I use the buddy system when milling around campus. I stay off my phone when I walk to classes and stay aware of my surroundings. My roommates have our schedules posted in our rooms for each other, just in case something ever happens. I try to stay vigilant to protect myself. But I’ve never been that terrified of a stranger in my life until this week. Everything about that situation with David was bad. Red flags were appearing when he began talking to me.
- Alone on the floor
- David sitting down
- His odd questions
- Overly firm handshake
- Ignoring my body language and curt responses
- Not listening to my words
Right now, I am grateful and feel lucky to have gotten away from that weird situation. I would have been out of there even without a prompted phone call but I wanted to have someone know that I was having issues at that precise moment. I’ve learned so much from that experience. But I wish I wasn’t fearful when out and about alone.