Each Monday I will be writing about a First. I will choose the First (first kiss? first drink? first fight? first phobia?)
I will post the topic here and write my own little piece about it. And I will invite YOU to write about your own First on your blog anytime during the week. If you have never experienced that particular first, write about why not. And how you feel about that.
Then add your blog post via the linky below, and/or tweet it under the hashtag #MyFirst.
Today's topic is My First... Moment of Terror
I don't remember the party at all, but I remember the events afterwards with crystal clarity.
I had just turned sixteen years old, and I was coming home from the wrap party of the TV mini-series I had starred in. I can't recall what I was wearing, but it was probably similar to the 'Relax' t-shirt and leggings I wore to the premier. My hair was short and a weird dyed-blondey colour, my skin was tanned from six weeks on location in Queensland, and I was plump after eating my way through the catering services.
It was late, about two in the morning. My parents had excused me from my normal curfew because it was such an exciting occasion. And I was with adults. I was being dropped home in a cab. There really was nothing to worry about.
Of course, I was a little bit drunk, because this was a film crew, and people in film crews drink. And the actors drink, even the teenage actors, even the ones who had barely turned sixteen. I was a little bit drunk and I was in a taxi and it was two in the morning and it was time to go home.
I can't remember who I was in the cab with. I do remember that I wanted to be grown up like them. And so, when the taxi reached the corner of my street, I offered to get out right there, and not be driven to the door. It would have been no trouble at all for the cab to make that right hand turn, to travel the extra 150 metres to get me to my house. But no, I said, this was absolutely fine, even though the streets were empty and it would have taken all of two minutes.
And so I hopped out of the cab on the corner of a main road, shut the door and waved my chaperone goodbye, and headed up the street to home.
It was 2am, I was a bit drunk, and I was sixteen. I heard a car behind me, the only car on the deserted road. And then I heard the car slow down, and stop altogether, and then turn slowly into my street.
And as my whole body went cold, and the terror rose in my chest, the car pulled up beside me, and began following me at pace.
I could barely breathe. I was bathed in fear. My alcohol haze was lifted and all was crystal clear. My vision narrowed to myself, the street, and the car. I was aware of nothing, not the past, not the future, not my life, just my home up ahead and the distance I needed to cover.
The fear. The fear. I wanted to run and keep running. But I wasn't a great runner and I knew I couldn't outrun a car. And I knew the car door could open and a hand could reach out. I could feel the emptiness of the streets, and the silence all around.
I considered bolting into a stranger's house, but it was 2am, and I could bang on the door, but what if nobody heard? I figured my only chance was to make it home. And I knew I couldn't sprint the distance, so I had to play it smart.
I wanted to run but I couldn't. Not yet. And so I forced myself to walk normally as the car trailed beside. I kept my eyes straight ahead, agonisingly aware of the vehicle, and calculating how many steps it would take to get me to safety.
And when I thought I was close enough, I broke into a run. I ran as fast as I could run, frantic with fear. I ran with eyes fixed on my house, terrified that any second that car would stop and a hand would reach out and I'd be gone gone gone.
I ran full pelt to home, and as I got through the gate I grabbed my keys from my bag and slid them into the door. I was ready to pound and scream and ring the bell, but I got the door straight open, and I slammed it shut behind me.
And then I was there, in the hallway of my parent's house. The fear drained away and I stood shaking with relief. I looked down the hall at the home in which I grew up, and I had never felt more safe. I had never felt more secure. I kissed my parents goodnight and I went to bed and I was so happy to be home. I never wanted to leave.
To this day, I don't know who was inside that car. Whether it was one person or six, whether they intended to scare me or worse. But it was the first moment of sheer terror I had ever known. I need only to close my eyes, and it is just under the surface.
I've had other moments of fear since, in many different forms. But none have resembled that night in the street. It has only been replayed in my dreams.
Next week's topic: My First... Obsession