Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stranger Danger...

(Back story) Just after high school I had this group of friends that I hung out with and lived with off and on. I remember this one guy in particular named Dave (not his real name) who was a little strange. In our early 20's, life changed quickly and we all just grew apart. I kept in contact with some of my friends but Dave and I never stayed in touch. I heard rumors that he was into drugs, in and out of jail and had a possible mental illness. Fast Forward to Friday night the 11th. It was a long day of walking for me and I was ready to find a spot to crash. I saw a cop and asked if it was possible to pitch my tent in the city park for the night and he said it was fine. So I posted on facebook that the police said it was ok to camp at the park and headed to the spot. I started my routine and set up my gear, got comfortable and settled in for the night. At about 10:30pm a car pulls up and flashes its lights right at my tent and honks his horn. So I got up and got out of my tent. The lights from the car were blinding me and I couldn't see anything but a figure walking in my direction. A tall thin man approached me and mumbled a "Hey" before I could see his face. By the time he got closer I realized it was Dave from back in the day. I was utterly shocked! I greeted him with a awkward half side hug but didn't know what to say. My mind was filled with rumors that I heard from the past and I have to be honest, I was a little freaked out. We tried to break the ice but he would just mumble questions at me with no eye contact whatsoever. I asked him "how did you find me?" and he said that he was able to track me down from my last post on facebook. He mentioned that he had some camping gear in the back of his car that he wanted to show me so we took a look at it for a few minutes. As the conversation started winding down, I was ready to go to bed and asked him what he was doing tomorrow morning, maybe we could do breakfast... but he said he was thinking about staying and camping out tonight as well. I assumed he would sleep in the tent that he brought but as I walked away, he followed me with his sleeping bag and some shorts. I got in my tent and laid down, completely confused as to what was going on. Dave followed me in, moved my dog, spread out his sleeping bag and jumped in. The 30seconds of silence seemed like forever before I started asking him questions. He shared with me about his life, how he got into trouble, fought with cops and was taking medication to help him be less violent and more rational. He then randomly jumps up, runs out to his car and comes back with a brief case full of handcuffs, mace, random documents and what looked like a private investigator if there was ever a point in my life when bells went off/ alarms/ red flags, this was it! He started telling me that he was a private investigator and all the crazy cases he's been on... that he works for the attorney general... I was struggling to believe any of it. Things just didn't seem to add up... but I chose to overlook it and focus more now on my safety. As he told me story after story of getting in fights, I made up a story of how protective Louie was and how he attacked this guy once for messing with me. Looking back now, I'm really embarrassed but at the time I was really scared and thought the story might keep him from messing with me. As the night went on we trade stories and he suddenly decided that he was going home. I mentioned breakfast to him again but also said I wanted to sleep-in and get some much needed rest before putting in more miles the next day. He went home but I stayed up thinking about all the stories he told me and if he could possibly come back to hurt me in the middle of the night. At 6am Dave shows up again, banging on my tent. I get up and he says he wants to take me for a short hike to a waterfall. So I packed up my stuff and agreed to go with him. We drove back to Yelm and I got us some breakfast at Starbucks. Then we got back in the car and drove another 20-30miles into the woods. When we finally got there, Dave grabbed a few items to take with him including a rope. I asked him what the rope was for and he said we might need it to climb down the waterfall... I didn't see any harnesses or anythings like that so I was pretty confused but didn't ask anymore questions. We started off into the woods and Dave reassured me it was only a few miles to the falls. At this point I was seriously scared for my life and started playing scenarios of what "could" happen to me out here in the middle of nowhere...but after a while I got to the point where I thought, if this is how I'm going to go then I might as well share my testimony with him. I spent the next 9 miles(not couple of miles) sharing everything that the Lord has been doing in my life, including confessing my deepest darkest secrets/sins. I could tell he was getting uncomfortable when we finally arrived at the water fall... and let me tell you, it was nothing to write-home about. We stayed there for a few minutes, then turned around and headed back. On the walk to the car Dave finally started opening up to me and I realized that all the creepy awkwardness I was feeling earlier was not him trying to be threatening but more like fear and shame... insecurities. Eventually the front he put on was gone and I felt foolish and guilty for thinking he would try to hurt me... this was my friend after all and he still is. You can look at this story as one of two ways. One, I made a lot of foolish decisions and am lucky I'm not dead or two, God set this up and I was meant to run into Dave. If I went with how I felt I would have missed out on this opportunity to reconnect with my friend again and show him that I cared for him.

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