6.27.2005

That Little Voice

Trust your instincts. Always listen to that little voice within your head.
Eight years ago, I learned this lesson the hard way.

It was one of those eerie nights--the kind where the fog envelops you and everything around. However, in my frame of mind, the night was perfect. I had just come off the most wonderful evening and a successful date with a man that would turn out to be my future husband. I hadn't notice that it was after 1 am. I drove, reminiscing about the evening, about my future, about the promise in my life.

I wouldn't have really noticed the car following behind me if it weren't for the bright headlights, which practically blinded me as a looked in the rear-view mirror.
I also noticed that my car had just crossed over into Franklin County, my home in rural Virginia.

Franklin Country was a quiet farming community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. My father was the only Greek and owned a restaurant. I knew the sheriff and deputies by name because I poured their coffee most evening nights when I worked. I felt secure in Franklin County.

I was shaken from my daydreams on this particular evening because, almost out of nowhere it seems, my car hit a large carcass on the road. Suddenly, the vehicle following close behind lit up like a police car.

"I'd better pull over. Officer Bryant probably thinks I am a drunk driver or something."

Without fear, I pulled off on the dark highway. There are no streetlights in Franklin County and I was at least 10 miles from the only town.

As I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw nothing but bright lights blinding me. But I also discerned a shadowy figure putting something over his head.

"My eyes must be playing tricks on me," I thought. But the little voice inside me was scared, my heart was pounding, and I began to roll up my window. The figure approached and I couldn't make him out. He shined a large heavy utility flashlight in my eyes. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights.

"Let me see some identification, he barked."

Then, a little voice inside me grew angry.

"NO! I think I need to see YOUR ID," I yelled back. I didn't know where that anger came from, but it shocked the figure of the man. Instantly the utility light moved off my face and I saw a ski mask staring back at me.

He banged up against the car and I sped away (well, as fast as a Ford Festiva could go).
I was so angry at first. I wanted to go back and get the license plate. But common sense of the little voice sunk in--the longer I drove, the more afraid I became.

I got home, called the police, and went into a form of shock. The officer on the other end couldn't get me to speak. I hung up. Like a zombie I walked through the house until I locked myself in the bathroom. It was the room that didn't have windows.

I survived, physically unscathed. But there were others who did not. Today that man sits in a jail cell, and I live-- but some of my freedom was lost. I lost that sense of security in my hometown. For years, I could not sleep in my house alone. Although I think of him less often as the years have gone by, he is still with me to this very day.

But happily, she is still with me, too -- that little voice in my head. Call her 'instinct' or a 'gut feeling'. Call her what you will. She's there, always present, and watching my back. It's just a matter of listening.

3 comments:

David said...

Glad you listened to that little voice. Story was great and should make you a stronger person for going with your feelings.

Jaws said...

Omg how scarey.. you had me there. I don't think I could have been alone that night.

Diane Mandy said...

Dave- Sometimes that little voice speaks louder than other times. It seems to remain silent on one key topic... MEN! Go figure?

Hey, Jaws! I know, scary... Some days I can't believe it was me. But, I have a momento from the event. Turns out the newspaper and media monitor police wires. A full page article with MY NAME and ADDRESS hit the paper the next day. Made me feel even more unsafe... Yikes!