Friday, February 29, 2008

When nightmares become reality

Okay, Macie's dream skeerd me.

Can I use it as an excuse to be lazy and delay my goal to "run", not walk, a 5k? Nah, the weather's's time to get active. I'll carry mace...and hone up on my kick ass skills.

Her dream reminded me of the time my husband and I actually experienced the real life version.

The "incident" happened on July 4th of '93. My sister and her husband lived in an apartment complex very near the university here in Topeka. Unfortunately, the neighborhood was not as stellar as it was when we were attending college. There was a time when we could roam the neighborhood around the university and the bar district without any worries, but it took a turn over the years, and '93 was the year when the neighborhood was starting to get ugly. Today, they've torn down most of the area and have rebuilt a large portion of it.

Anyway, the university always had an awesome 4th of July fireworks display, and my husband and I went with a group of friends to enjoy the festivities. Afterward we stopped at a few of the old hangouts, and then everyone decided to shoot off fireworks at the tennis court behind my sister's apartment complex. My husband and I lingered behind the rest of the group for some reason...I think we stopped to talk to some friends or something. So, when we finally headed behind the building, we were alone. I remember a guy standing at the corner of the building looking a bit menacing which gave me a steadily escalating sense of foreboding as we rounded the corner of the building.

We had to walk down one street and turn a corner onto another to get into the tennis courts. Out of nowhere, a group of about eight black men appeared behind us, and they were decreasing the distance between their group and us *very* rapidly. I'm thinking, "okay, we're about to get into some serious shit...what to do". A sense of panic was taking over, but I tried to remain as calm as possible when the group split and started walking on both sides of us. Small talk ensued...turning ugly quickly...I glance at the upcoming street corner and knew my friends would not be able to see us until we walked up a grassy hill to the courts. I was thinking...there's no chance we can out fight all eight of them, so maybe I can out run them?? I only had to make it up the hill to be spotted by the rest of our group, and I probably wouldn't have made it that far except for the fact that they were much more interested in taking down my husband than messing with me at the moment. They had no clue that the rest of our friends were so near.

So, as they were circling my husband and starting to throw punches, I ran like the devil, and hightailed it up the hill screaming at my sister and brother-in-law. Without hesitation, the two of them led the group barreling down the hill like mighty brother-in-law is a 6'4", 250 lb. native Norwegian who looks quite intimidating if you're planning on trying to deck him. My sister is a couple inches taller than me, putting her right at 6', and she used to arm wrestle the football players in college...and win. I kid you not. So, at least we had some fair defense against whatever we were heading into. Me?...I was scared shitless at this point, but my sister evidently knows no fear. She ran right into the group of them and started swinging and scolding them like they were 3-year olds. I could not freaking believe it. Adrenaline rush, I guess. I was worried about weapons being drawn, and was really relieved when the surprise of our friends rushing down the hill scared them off. They ran down the street, and my husband was left with only a few scratches.

Needless to say, we left the area...never to return, and my sister and her husband found a new neighborhood to call their own shortly after the incident.

Afterward, we were trying to figure out why on earth they targeted *us*. We found out that that particular day, the Topeka Capital Journal had published an article about the Ku Klux Klan. I can't remember what the article was about, but it triggered some serious anger in those folks, and I remember them mentioning the Klan when they were talking to us. I guess they were going to take out their anger on us. I still wince when thinking about what could have happened had our friends not been close by. Ugh...

Random sucks.