It was winter time. Cold and dreary. I was 19 years old and twice over a new mother. I had found out my boyfriend of four years had been cheating on me with his sister's best friend. I had thought he was out working many nights when, in fact, they were sleeping together and staying in his car those nights. I was devastated. My youngest was just a few months old.
Back in my younger days, I believed that the best way to get back at him would be to go on a date with someone else. Maybe then he would see that he didn't want to lose me. I know that is a stupid way to think now, but at the time, I was 19 and young and naïve.
There was a man—an older man—who lived a few houses down from me. He always showed an interest in me when I would push the kids in the stroller to the park or the store. He would always find small talk to speak with me. One day, I was out back in the alley as he was driving by. He stopped and struck up a conversation. I ended up telling him about what had happened between my boyfriend and I.
He seemed genuinely concerned about my hurt and being alone with the children. He said he had to go to the store and offered to take us. He also said he had to go by his parents' house across the bridge from us and asked if I wanted to go for just the drive. Since I had talked with him several times and knew where he lived, I figured the drive would do me good, since I didn't have a car of my own and walked everywhere I needed to go.
I got the children buckled in the back and we were off. We stopped at a little convenience store before crossing the bridge and then continued on. We made fun small talk. I felt a little uneasy, but nothing to be too concerned about. Eventually, he turned off the highway onto an older, dirt road. There were houses here and there, so I wasn't concerned. Besides, he did say he had to go to his parents' house. As we went further into the countryside, I noticed we were going into an Appalachian region where there were fewer houses and more wooded areas. He eventually pulled onto another dirt road that went into the foothills.
By now, I was hoping we are close to his parents' home. Instead, he suddenly announced that this wasn't his parents' area and that he wanted to get me alone. We started up a mountainside where some of the houses were abandoned and fewer and farther between. He also said he was starting to have car trouble. I told him I just wanted to go home, that I was not comfortable in that area because I didn't know the area. His car started sputtering (I know now it was because he had a standard and knew how to make his car sputter), and he told me to make sure I kept the windows up and the doors locked because there were people who would get pulled out of cars and go missing in the area. I started panicking. I begged him to take me home. He reached over and put his hand on my knee to let me know he would keep me safe. I was scared.
I began begging him to take me home. I offered to pay him for the ride and back then there were no cell phones, so I had no one to call. Of all times to want my boyfriend, that was one of them. He stopped the car and reached over to kiss me. I let his lips brush mine for fear he would become angry, but then pulled away. I looked in the backseat at my two little ones and, thankfully, my baby began to wake and stir and cry. I told him that maybe we could do this some other time because I had to take care of the babies and couldn't do much with them in the car. Anything I could think of to get him to take me home.
Thankfully, he agreed that I was right. He patted my knee and smiled at me and said, "Let's go." At least if he thought I was interested, I would have a chance to get home. I made small talk the whole ride home just to keep him at ease. When I got home and got the kids out, I told him I saw a light on in my apartment, so my boyfriend must be in there. He let me go and I thanked him for the ride and said I would see him another day.
I moved right after that.