6. More to the story
I was riding the train home from work one sunny Saturday afternoon when I was in my early twenties. A guy got on the train and sat beside me. There were many, many empty seats, so it threw me off that he did this. It was really hot on that train, and I felt claustrophobic immediately.
He asked me my name. When I made eye contact with him, it felt like someone had cut a hole in the bottom of my stomach. I felt like there was something wrong. Something really, really wrong.
When he asked how old I was and if I had a boyfriend, I said, “I’m in my 20s and I am in a committed relationship.” He responded with, “Do guys ever tell you that you look a lot younger? I thought you were like 17!”
He looked like he was at least in his late 30s. I’m thinking – why does it matter how old I look? I told him I’m in a relationship, why is he still talking? I try to make eye contact with anyone else on the train. I scan the seats up front and behind us.
But I soon realized: there was no one else in the car. After he saw we were alone, he not-so-casually put his hand on my thigh. It was the middle of summer and I was wearing a dress so his hand was touching my bare skin.
I jumped up and pushed my way past him and to the doors, planning on getting off at the next station and just waiting for another train. He followed me.
He stood right beside me and asked if the next station is my stop. I ignored him, and moved to the other set of doors. He followed again and he put his arm around my waist. The feeling of someone you don’t know touching you in such a familiar way is one that no person should ever feel.
I found my voice, some courage, and said: “Stop now.”
I didn’t have a phone and no one was expecting me anywhere. I felt like something very very bad was about to happen to me.
I was praying, praying that we would get to the station already, praying there was a transit officer there, that there was anyone there.
My heart leapt when I saw the platform approach. The train slowed down, stopped and the doors opened. There were people there, thank goodness.
I could see out of the corner of my eye that creepy guy was sitting down again and I rushed out of the train and ran to the pay phones to call my boyfriend to come pick me up.
That night, safe at home, we watched TV while we ate dinner. Suddenly our show was interrupted by an update about an earlier news bulletin that I hadn’t seen.
There were pictures of the guy from the train. He was in some kind of halfway house after being released from prison and wasn’t there for curfew the night before. The news warning was released because he was a sex offender.
They were updating to say that police had just located him and he was back in custody.
I did learn that day that I need to trust my instincts. I should have just stood up and got off the train, because I knew that he was bad news.
I was working as a church secretary, and a guy dropped by the office to pick up some free tickets that we were offering to members.
He was a good-looking guy in his late fifties, and he laid on the charm like you would not believe. I have never experienced such a full-court press. It was extremely well-done — never offensive or pushy, but warm and friendly and very well-calculated to appeal to me in particular, even though we had never met.
Here’s the thing, though: it was way out of proportion to what he was asking for. I had a pile of tickets, and we were offering them to any member. All anybody had to say was, “Can I have a couple of tickets?” All I had to do was reach out my hand and pass them over.
The way this guy was going on, you would have thought he was trying to charm me into putting my job on the line to give him something worth thousands of dollars.
Later, I mentioned this to one of the other staffers. “Oh, him,” he said. “Yeah, you haven’t met him because he was in jail for fraud. He persuaded an old lady to give him her life savings.”
8. We don’t like Sarah
My mom is a social butterfly. She has a large friend group, and the bunch of them organize parties and get-togethers all the time.
One day, one of the women in the group introduces one of her new friends to everyone and she becomes part of the group as well. I’ll call her Sarah.
My mother immediately doesn’t like Sarah. Maybe it’s the fake tan. The way she laughs. The way she handles her kids. Something seemed really off to her. So while Sarah was part of the friend group, she and my mother weren’t especially close.
Fast forward a couple years. My mom finds some emails that reveal her husband has been sleeping with another woman for the past eight months. She’s absolutely devastated.
For whatever reason, my mom calls Sarah, and she comes over to lend support. My mom cries and talks about what’s happened, Sarah consoling her and giving her kind words of sympathy.
A few days later, she finds out Sarah was the one sleeping with her now ex-husband.
9. Danger Will Robinson
Many years ago, at my old job, a new guy started working there. He was really nice, always willing to help out, and seemed caring. However, every time I was around him longer than a minute I would get panic attacks. It continued to happen so frequently that I mentioned something to my co-workers.
I attempted to avoid him at all costs. Something didn’t seem right. I felt scared, constantly, when around him, for no reason.
One day, he got fired. He was so angry that he Facebook messaged all of the employees threatening them (including me). He continued to harass us for a couple of weeks, saying things like, “Wait until I see you again” and, “You’ll never know it’s coming.” He blamed us for him getting fired even though it had nothing to do with us.
Oh, and to make matters worse, his Facebook profile picture was of a knife stabbed into a table.
Gut instincts are there for a reason. It’s amazing what our bodies and minds will do when we sense danger. It should never be overlooked.
Take a look at these other great Awkward articles.