Run, run as fast as you can.

My sister and I were just chatting about kids the other day (we went to a baby shower and a lunch and we were swarmed by these screaming pests) and we talked about our childhood. We had a love-hate relationship (her hating me most times I think) but spent endless hours together on end because our younger sibling wouldn’t arrive for another eight years. Then this memory came up. It was hilarious when we reminisced about it but it wasn’t anywhere close to funny when it happened….

My parents were lax in bringing us up, meaning we had a lot of free rein in doing whatever we wanted to do. My sister and I spent many evenings at the playground at the opposite end of our block. It was another late afternoon and we were just running around or building sand castles.

I don’t remember much details (I was probably about seven and A was nine) but I do remember this guy approaching us, wanting to befriend us. That’s how we usually made friends- through play and the other kids were mostly from our school so they were familiar faces. In my time, primary school could go on for a maximum of eight years (for the slower learners). This guy was in primary eight. We were always wary of him because he was very big and tall and was a bit of a bully.

I’m very sure my mum warned us against getting close to him which was why we were so freaked by him. I don’t remember what he wanted from us but he approached us and probably wanted to play. Come to think of it, why would a 14-year old boy want to play with two young girls? I also remember him luring us to a stairway but A must have sensed something wasn’t right because she signalled me to run, then took off herself. Thanks. The next thing I remember, he started chasing us around the playground and into the surrounding blocks.

Then we managed to kinda make an escape and run towards home. A was running ahead of me (by quite a bit may I add) and she kept screaming “Just run! Run! Don’t turn back!”.

Of course I turned back. Curiosity killed the cat, didn’t it? Only to see him hot on my heels with his hand stretched out reaching for me. By this time, I was beyond hysterical. I was screaming and crying and running for my life. I must say I was quite efficient at multi-tasking and must have quite powerful lungs too. At one point I was screaming for help because he was so close to grabbing me and guess what, A never came to my rescue. Instead she just ran ahead.

Her explanation then and now (consistency is key) was that she was racing home to get my dad to save us. Sure, if you say so. Because we lived on the second storey and because I’m sure our hysterics were heard by the whole block, my dad did come for us. By then, we were both in tears, inconsolable and incoherent but he did get the gist of what happened.

Dad brought us both back down in search of the scary man but he must have gone home by then. We did see him occasionally in the neighbourhood but he never dared to come near us anymore because we did point him out to dad who may or may not have had a talk with him.

That incident scared us both quite a bit, though not to the point where we totally swore off the playground. Thinking back, I’m glad A wasn’t such a dumb fuck like myself. I just recalled another story where I nearly got myself into trouble by an old man. Jeez. I’ll tell you the other story when I get over being embarrassed.


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