I’m really not sure what else to address you as. I mean, you didn’t necessarily kidnap me; you attempted to. I suppose I could call you a stranger. You are technically nothing but a stranger to me in many ways. I only knew you for about five minutes, but those five minutes felt like hours to me and I have never forgot a single second of our encounter. However, in the five short minutes I knew you, I found out exactly who you were, so you really aren’t a stranger to me.
Seventeen years ago at around this time of the year is when I had the misfortune of meeting you. I never thought that something so brief could impact my life so much.
It frightens me to know that there are people like you who prey on children out there. I wonder what your thoughts were as you saw me sitting alone under a tree outside of my kindergarten classroom. I wonder if you were looking out for any adults. I wonder if you considered my parents, or if I had any siblings or friends. Did you try to guess how old I was? If you guessed four, you would have been right. I often wonder how long you circled your car around the block until you decided to come out and approach me.
When you approached me, did you notice the stickers I collected on my Hello Kitty backpack? I was so proud of getting so many from my teacher, that I stuck them on my backpack for the world to see. When you were looking at me and told me to come over to you, did you notice the way I held my stuffed animal?
My heart raced so quickly that when I think about the situation; it races the same way it did on that day.
I don’t think you realize that when I was running away from you, I couldn’t feel my legs. I couldn’t feel anything except absolute fear and my heart beating so hard in my chest, I thought it would explode. Even when you saw me running, you still followed me. Was it the fear in my eyes that excited you, or the literal chase between us?
The sun is supposed to be one of the most beautiful sights to people, but sadly, when I look up at the sun I don’t see beauty, radiance, or glory. I am reminded of when my legs gave out and when I fell, and when I looked up and saw you standing over me. You were so tall that the sun blocked out your face. No matter how hard I squinted, I couldn’t see you. I couldn’t make out what you were saying to me. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the Lord didn’t want me to remember you, but I sadly still do after all of these years.
My voice was so raw and I had such a lack of breath, I couldn’t even scream out. I wonder if you could see that I wanted to. If I could have, I would have screamed for help.
But I didn’t have to. To this day, I consider why you thought it was a good idea to attempt a child kidnapping in daylight in a schoolyard. Did you think the teacher’s inside couldn’t see you from the windows, or that they had all gone home? I’m so blessed I was noticed. All it took was the glance of someone of authority and them coming outside to make you run faster than I had ever seen someone run in my life.
For months, I was afraid to go outside for recess. I was afraid of being without my family.
I was afraid of seeing you.
I think about the incident every day. I have had nightmares about you and what could have been. I constantly wonder why you wanted to do what you did, or what exactly it was you planned to do with me.
Although I have never seen you again, I often think about exactly who you were. What your family thought of you, and what they think of you now. What your hobbies were…what your past was like. I can’t help but wonder if you ever think about me, and if you remember any of what you did. To you, it may have been a five minute failed attempt at your scheme, but for me, it was life changing and terrifying.
If you ever did wonder what happened to the four year old girl you tried to kidnap that day, she is happy and successful. She is a University student, volunteers for multiple organizations, and is a dedicated, hard worker. She is strong, empathetic, and full of love. She is an advocate and will never gives up on what she believes in.
It’s funny to think that in a matter of seconds, everything I have built for myself with the help of my support systems would have never been. I could have been dead by now, or kept captive, or any other horrific scenario you would see only on the news. I’m glad you didn’t win and that I did.
I could easily tell you that there is a special place for you after life, but that isn’t my call. I no longer fear you or detest you. I genuinely hope you are rehabilitated and that you haven’t ever harmed anyone else before. I hope you got the help you deserved.
The Four Year Old in the Black and Red Dress
P.S. Yes, I was outside waiting for my mother