Sometimes we find ourselves thanking the stars because we’ve narrowly missed a dangerous situation. This happened to me a few months ago but I’ve avoided writing about it until now. I’ve avoided it because I didn’t want my parents and my family to see. I’ve avoided it because I was ashamed. I’ve avoided it because I thought that I was to blame. I’m now beginning to see that that was not the case.
A while ago I went to visit some friends in the country. It was a bank holiday and we decided to go out. I’d never been out in this area before but I was looking forward to experiencing it.
You probably all know this by now but I’m not the best at judging when exactly I should stop drinking. This is not for any reason other than that I’m just young and irresponsible, but it does result in some sticky situations. I’m usually pretty safe in the company that I keep around me. I’ve never really been in a situation where I’ve felt unsafe on my own.
On this night we went to a house for drinks before heading to a club. We started drinking mojitos with vodka, berries, mint and lime. They were delicious and very easy to drink. I had just poured myself a big glass when the taxi arrived. I’ve never been a wasteful person so, as the mad taxi dash began, I downed my glass and just for good measure I decided to polish off another glass or two that the others had left behind. I’m just that considerate.
We got to the club and I was feeling extremely shimmery. The place was extremely packed and I was lead along by the others to a seating area. I went to get cocktails and go to the bathroom and when I returned I couldn’t find my friends. I wandered around the packed club for a long time. I was extremely, extremely drunk and I have many blank gaps from this night. I have a faint memory of a girl trying to help me but I don’t remember where she went.
My phone was in and out of reception and after looking for I’m guessing about an hour (although this could be wrong), I decided to head back to the house that I was staying in. Now, being used to nights out in Dublin for some stupid reason I assumed that it wouldn’t be too difficult to catch a taxi around this country town. And maybe it wouldn’t have been, if it wasn’t a bank holiday.
I have a large gap here but the next thing that I remember is being on a road at the top of the town about to walk onto a dark road with no street lights. I felt confused. How had I ended up here? What should I do now? I took out my phone to look up a taxi service and call one just in time to see it die.
There was a good bit of traffic going past me and I couldn’t really focus my eyes enough to see what was going on. I outstretched my hand, hoping that a taxi would stop for me. I was drunk, cold and far from enjoying myself at this point. All I wanted was to be in bed.
A taxi pulled up and stupidly I didn’t notice that it didn’t have a sign on its roof. As I said, I was too drunk. I tried to open the back door but the driver locked it. I then tried the front door and hopped in.
I told him the direction the house was in, but he wasn’t listening. He was asking me really weird questions and I was so confused. He began driving and I was trying to direct him. He suddenly turned to me and asked “are you a boy or a girl?” I told him that I was a boy and he went silent for a few minutes. Bear in mind I still thought that I was in a taxi but I was feeling afraid. No phone, dark country roads, a town where no one knew me and a taxi man that wasn’t listening to me.
He turned and put his hand on my knee before asking “would you give me a blowjob?” “NO!” I responded angrily to which he jammed on the brakes.
I couldn’t look at him now. I knew that I should be scared but the drink had me feeling too numb to recognise the danger of the situation. My mind also wouldn’t focus enough for me to just hop out of the car. I was scared of the dark road. I didn’t know what to do. I shiver now when I think about what he could have done to me but I was lucky.
“Get out!” he shouted. “Where are we?” I asked him. “Just get out!” he was in my face now. I opened the door and stumbled out onto the cold dark road. “Fuck you,” I rather foolishly shouted before rather foolishly slamming his door with all of my force. It was only at this moment that I realised he wasn’t a taxi driver at all.
Thank god he drove away but now I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t ring someone to come and get me. I couldn’t turn the flash on my phone to signal oncoming traffic. I couldn’t use google maps to find my way back to the house. It was terrifying. I burst into frustrated tears which shows how angry I was because I never cry. I’m now grateful for that anger. It stopped me from feeling hopeless. I marched determinedly down the road until I recognised a turn. I reckoned I was about twenty minutes away from the house.
I walked shivering and crying while traffic came scarily close to me. I wasn’t wearing bright colours, I tried to keep as close to the roadside where possible but I reckon that I was weaving all around the road. I was so unbelievably lucky not to be another face in the papers. Another person who was drunk and got into an accident. Another cautionary tale for parents to tell their teenagers.
I was putting my hand out to every driver who appeared but they all ignored me. I was so confused. I have a wonderful sense of direction but I had no idea whether I was on the right track or not.
Eventually, a woman pulled over. She and her daughter were on their way home and she was very concerned as to why I was on the road. I was hysterical at this point and could barely talk between my sobs and my shivering. The poor woman seemed awfully shocked. I told her I’d lost my friends and didn’t know why I was on the road. I somehow managed to direct her back to the house in the state that I was in (honestly I constantly amaze myself). I thanked her 3000 times and apologised 5000 times but she wouldn’t hear it. I threw a handful of money into her back seat before getting out of the car thanking her over and over again.
I am still so grateful to her for saving me that night. There are wonderful people out there and I was lucky enough to have a wonderful person stumble upon me on this particular occasion. I hope that I didn’t frighten her too much that night and that she recognises how much she did for me. I dread to think what could have happened but thanks to her, I don’t have to.
When I went inside the house I scared the crap out of everyone. I was frozen and crying and in a frightened daze. I’m sure they were wondering what the hell had happened to me. I mumbled something about how I’d bumped into some assholes who said shit to me and went into my bed.
I hate that I can use that as an excuse. I hate that those people (until now) believe that I was dragged down by the words of assholes that night. I hate feeling and appearing weak but that’s just my pride talking.
The next morning, I woke up in shock, feeling amazingly grateful to be safe in my bed. I was so reluctant to go into the kitchen and face everyone, but I knew that this was an extremely small problem compared to what I could have been dealing with that morning.
I still shiver and recoil every time I think about that man and that night. It really has shaken me to my very core and made me be a lot more cautious about my drinking.
I know that there are people who will read this and believe that it was my fault for drinking so much. This is why I felt reluctant to write about it. Yes, it may have been wrong of me to get that drunk but it’s not my fault that there are creeps in this world who will take advantage of that. It’s not my fault that a man saw what he thought to be a vulnerable woman and decided to use it to his advantage. It’s not my fault that there are predators everywhere we go.
I feel very lucky but that night was not without its consequences. I’ve actually had a couple of dreams that were very similar to that night since. There’s a certain part of me that’s been somewhat changed by what happened. And I’m one of the lucky ones. I cannot imagine what people who weren’t as lucky as me must feel every day.
It’s true that it’s not all men, that I will not deny. But it’s also true that all women hear of these experiences and feel concern. All women have experienced stuff like this to an extent. All women have to constantly be careful that they don’t end up in the front seat of a creep’s car. And all women know that I was lucky to come away from such an experience left with merely a story and a small fear.
This season 1 post is now a chapter in Just Saying, which can be purchased here.