It happened to me when I was 13 and at an age to where many girls go through body image changes, and I was one of them. I didn't look like other girls my age. I already was well-developed and had the body of a grown woman, which made me very insecure. I was really obsessed with weight loss and had really low self-esteem. Besides all that, my family and I live in a neighborhood where almost everybody knows each other.
On top all of that, there was always that one neighbor who lived all alone in a two-story house who lived only a block away from me. It never really dawned on me to give second thought about this man until the day where I dangerously encountered him. It was the summer of 2003 before I even had a cell phone. I was doing my usual workout routine which lasted about 45 min-1 hour and outside in the heat.
About 30 minutes into my workout, I noticed a white unmarked dirty van circling around the block a few times. Then I realized that this person was following me. This was starting to scare me and made me uneasy because every time the van would pass me, the van would start to slow down. I started to power walk, trying to get home quickly. In the driver’s seat, there was a Hispanic male who I will be calling “creepy big man,” who was somewhere between 5’5”-5’8,” in his 60s, about 240 pounds, dressed in a stained, tight, dirty white shirt with his beer belly hanging out and wearing torn up blue jeans with paint on them. He also had white hair that was slicked back that was beginning to bald, and big round glasses, and didn’t speak with an accent.
As he noticed me walking fast, he stopped beside me on the opposite side of the street, next to the curb. At first I thought maybe he was lost or maybe asking for directions, and me being naive and stupid as I was, I stopped, too. I don’t remember exactly what he asked me at first because I was trying to ignore him, but then he asked me the creepiest thing that I have been ever asked in my life.
"I've seen you around and I just wanted to say hi." He said in a calm, confident voice. Then he said something that still creeps me out to this day. “Now, you’re not married, are you”?
What the fuck? I thought to myself! What kind of stupid ass question is that? Who the fuck says that to a 13-year-old? I don’t think this creep knew that I was a child due to my well-developed body. I found it as an insult because that tells me that I look old to him.
"Um…I am only 13,” I said to him. He looked at me with shock with his big eyes, just staring at me. He was looking me up and down as if he were checking me out. I think he felt a little embarrassed, but he continued to ask me where I lived, was I alone outside, and what my address was. The only thing I said to him was that I lived nearby, but never revealing what house or address.
The only thing that was on my mind at this point was how I was going to get the hell out of there. When he finally drove off, I ran as fast as I could. Now I knew where he lived and what vehicle he drove. When I got home, I told my mom first about the whole encounter, and she flipped the fuck out. She asked me why did I speak to a stranger. I told her that he was the neighbor that lived in the two-story house with the flagpole in the front. My dad was in the kitchen when he overheard the whole situation about what had happened outside. They just told me stay home for the next week; no going for walks for a while. I did as I was told. I was really creeped out and too scared to go back outside, thinking that he would be in his van again, waiting for me nearby.
Now that I look back, I believe that the “creepy big man” was a sex offender/pedophile. He doesn’t live there anymore, which I’m happy about. I don’t know what ever happened to him. Maybe he died or moved to a new place, or maybe he got caught doing something bad, but I don't know for sure. The house had been vacant and abandoned for quite some time, and now there's a family living there, but every time I pass by that house, it gives me the creeps. Just remember, kids—never talk to strangers.