Monday, October 01, 2018

Before the closing prayer

Last night I went to the adult session of stake conference with Grandpa, leaving Andrew and Grandma home with all the kids (plus Riley). Alexander screamed almost the whole time, so Andrew was super excited when I told him that the stake choir had been invited to sing at a missionary fireside this evening. I promised that we'd leave as soon as our number was over, so that's what we did even though I felt a little guilty skipping out on the mission president and leaving before the closing prayer.


When I was rather young my mom told me a story about when she and one of her roommates at BYU left a ward activity early—before the closing prayer—and were pursued by a man (on a motorcycle?). They ran down a set of stairs and were cutting through backyards and they just couldn't shake this guy. Eventually they saw a house with lights on and noticed a couple together in the kitchen so they pounded on the door and the couple let them inside and after they heard their story decided to escort them home.

And the moral of that story, my mother joked, was to never leave before the closing prayer (so I've always felt guilty about leaving before the closing prayer).

At least, I'm pretty sure that moral was given in jest. And I'm not even sure how accurate that story is because it has haunted my dreams for decades. I didn't even have a clear picture of what BYU campus and the surrounding area was like when she told me this story (unless I happened to dream this whole thing up) so the scenery was all much more dramatic in my mind than in real life.

Here's the thing about sexual assault, though: you don't even have to ever be assaulted to be terrified.

Women walk around waiting to be attacked all the time (whether they stick around for the closing prayer or not).

But that's not the point of telling that story, other than to say that we left before the closing remarks and before the closing prayer so that we could get back to my little nursling. I did momentarily panic when I noticed a man had followed us out, but naturally he was also just sneaking out early.

I recognize not all men are out to attack women, but that doesn't mean I'm going to ever let my guard down. To quote Stella from Foul Play, "Gloria, sweetheart, we live in a violent society. Weirdos all around. Get them before they get you."

Still not the point of my story.

So, there we are, walking towards our van—me, Rachel, and Miriam.

When we got close to it I clicked the key fob to unlock it and in return the van blinked its lights at me, to let me know it had received my instructions. Does that really matter, though? No. Kind of like how one must push the crosswalk button at least a dozen times while waiting for the lights to change (just in case, even though it beeps at you to tell you it has received your instructions) so, too, must one click the unlock button on the key fob the whole way to the car.

I am no different, so the lights of the van were blinking on and off while I was leading the girls to where we'd parked.

"Mom," Rachel said, grabbing my arm and getting increasingly panicked. "Mom. Mom. Mom."

"What?" I asked.

"I think that van wants to back up!"

"It will in a minute," I told her calmly. "Because it's ours."

"Oh!" she exclaimed, greatly relieved. "I was a little worried you were going to get run over for a second there! I feel a little stupid!"

I told her not to feel stupid. It was kind of her to want to keep me (and herself and her sister) out of harm's way. Still, I probably should have told her that reverse lights are white, not red...

Andrew was very happy when we arrived home. Alexander was overjoyed. And Benjamin and Zoë were already in bed (how awesome is that?!).

1 comment:

  1. That story is absolutely true, except there were two motorcycles, not just one. When they followed us down the STAIRS, we knew they meant business. At least, they meant to terrify us if nothing more.

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