In the summer of 1993, Deanna drove her gray hatchback around the unknown neighborhood for a third time, seeking out a friend’s house. After the past three years of a tumultuous and painful relationship with Kyle, she desperately desired a man who would fiercely love her back. She wanted to take a chance with her good friend, Patrick. They had been fellow classmates in their sociology class at the local community college four years before and had kept in touch. She knew he liked her more than just as a friend, so she believed her efforts to pursue Patrick would be worthwhile, as she struggled to unshackle herself from the dead end that was Kyle, the golf enthusiast.
The gray cloudy sky veiled the afternoon sun, as Deanna rolled down the same street for the fourth time. Panic and worry settled in her chest as she faced the realization she didn’t know which house was Patrick’s.
As her hopes fell, the car rumbled to a stop in front of a modest, two-story house. She checked her watch and found it was already after four o’clock. Anxiousness took hold of her, and the thought of calling Patrick flooded her mind. The insistence grew so strong that she turned off the engine and exited the vehicle.
Walking up to the porch, ideas of what she’d say to Patrick floated through her mind. Since she’d lost the chance to surprise him at his house, she’d have to surprise him with a call. She knocked on the door with anticipation of the soon-to-be conversation.
A minute later, the door slowly opened, and a middle-aged man in a bathrobe eyed her with a mixture of irritation and curiosity.
“Hi, can I borrow your phone?” she asked with an impatient smile.
He hesitated for a moment, still staring at her, but then said, “Just a minute,” and retreated from the doorway, leaving the door cracked.
Eagerness and excitement bubbled inside Deanna as the imagined conversation with Patrick danced in her head.
Suddenly, a voice neither specifically male nor female squelched the talking in her head.
“What are you doing?”
Deanna froze, hearing this unexpected and unfamiliar voice.
“Leave the porch, get in your car, and get out of there.” The tone was firm but not cruel.
Fear laced through her stomach as the realization of nearly entering a complete stranger’s home shook her.
Deanna bolted from the front of the house, got in her car, and fumbled for her keys, trying to shove the car key into the ignition. As the vehicle hummed to life, she glanced at the house, where the man stood there still in his robe, behind the screen door, peering at her with a stony expression.
Heart pounding, Deanna flicked a wave in his direction and sped off.
(This story is based on my true life experience, with change in names for privacy)