my secret shame

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This was an older blog entry that vanished from my blog in recent times. I think in order to understand my true character, it should remain. This is one of the most mortifying moments of my life, thus far, purely for your entertainment.

I have to add a disclaimer or two first though. I was only 8 or so, as I said, and at the time, a lot was going on in life, and I suspect I was after some attention. Add to that, the fact that we had been doing stranger danger at school and had these kick arse stranger danger coloring books and so the seed had been planted...

We used to play in the street a lot, when we lived in Moonee Ponds. My sister, Rachelle, (would have been about 10) my brother was only 5 and I don't recall him being there; my next door neighbour, Adrian, who was also in my class, so he would have been about 8 too... we'd ride our bikes to the corner and back, as we were this particular day.

I don't know what came into my head, or what I was thinking, and I certainly did not expect what ensued, I had not thought ahead at all. Just thought to myself as my little legs pumped away trying to go faster than my sister had - I wonder what would happen if...

You know, I think my writers mind was working well even at that stage, the creative part of my brain that could see a character so clearly, almost as though they really existed, even though I was aware they did not. So, I was on my way back from the corner, cycling slower now, letting my idea sink in, deciding exactly what it was I was going to say.

I got back and dramatically threw my bike down, sniffling and coaxing out some tears. Rachelle and Adrian asked what had happened and I declared that a lady had tried to kidnap me! She had asked me to get into her car and go for a drive with her! Oh yes she had! I know! The horror of it all, how terrifying it had been for me!! I got into the role a little more as I went on, adding details and getting more upset. She had been in a dark car, a sedan, and had been wearing a yellow sundress and oh yes - a hat! She had dark hair, sort of longish, and an evil glint in her eye. I relished the fear in their eyes, it could have been them! I know! How unlucky was I!?

My sister said we had to tell my parents at once. I looked at her blankly, I hadn't realised that would be necessary. I just wanted she and the Adrian to think I was a little bit... well... interesting... I began to panic a little at this point, what had I gotten myself into? I thought about confessing to them that I had just been tricking, but they looked so impressed and in awe of me, and they were concerned! And they were interested! And I was the center of attention! I allowed them to take me into Mum and Dad and tell them the story.

They were, of course, horrified, and gave me lots of hugs and reassurance and asked me many questions. I got caught up in the moment and I suspect I even started to believe it myself as I cried some more and again envisaged my would-be kidnapper and her yellow dress. I solemnly told them again what I pretended had happened, how she had slowed the car and asked me to hop in. I added some details to my description of the car but alas, no, I had not remembered the number plate. I reveled in the role of victim and allowed them to get me a blanket and lolly, and snuggled into my Mum for comfort and sympathy.

It was about then that Mum and Dad said we had to call the police. My little eyes widened in horror and fear. I swallowed with difficulty. Surely this had gone on long enough now? Surely it was time to come clean? This was really a whole different ball game now, and I was way out of my depth. But if I told the truth now, that I had made the entire thing up, not only would I look silly to my sister and Adrian, be utterly mortified, but I would probably be in a lot of trouble with Mum and Dad too. In fact, they might even take my toys away or send me to my room - and I might have to stay there a very long time because this was a very, very, bad thing I had done. MUCH worse than hitting my little brother, or the time I broke Mum's good china vase. And I really didn't want to get in trouble and be teased by the others for making it up.

So, I soldiered on with the ruse. The police were summoned and came knocking, the police car could be seen in front of our house for all to see (especially, I hoped, Adrian, who had been sent home whilst we dealt with the "situation"). The police in their intimidating uniforms asked me all the same questions yet again. My voice shaking, I retold the tale, sticking to the original story. Too far gone now to go back, I felt. I described again, the car, the woman, what she had said, which direction she had driven off... my heart thumping as I watched them write it all down, quite sure I was telling the truth and determined to bring my attempted kidnapper to justice.

They were so intimidating in their uniforms with their guns in holster and serious faces. Mum and Dad looked so upset and concerned and I was desperately floundering and in over my head so far I was well and truly drowning. I looked from one face to the next, eyes wide and in absolute fear of my lie. As the police left, and my parents tucked me into bed, I was struck with the sudden horrific thought -

WHAT IF THEY ARRESTED SOMEONE WHO ACCIDENTALLY MATCHED MY DESCRIPTION????

What if, there really was a woman out there, innocently driving around in her dark car, jaunty in her yellow sundress, brown hair blowing in the carefree breeze... AND SHE WAS GOING TO BE ARRESTED BECAUSE OF ME????? I suddenly felt like was going to be sick. I got out of bed and crept into the lounge-room. My mother, still concerned for her baby girl who had almost been taken from her (!) gave me a big hug, and I crawled onto her lap. I took a deep, shaky breath, closed my eyes, and in a rapid tumble of words, I confessed. Told her I had made it all up, that there had been no woman, no car, no kidnap attempt whatsoever. I cried and sobbed and wailed, the guilt and relief intermingling with the fear of the inevitable repercussions for my actions.

My mother, god knows what was going through her head - comforted me and assured me I was forgiven. I wailed my absolute horror that an innocent woman may be arrested for my lie!!! Mum assured me it was unlikely, and we'd deal with that if we had to, but that for now, we were best to let sleeping dogs lie. She didn't even make me tell Rachelle and Adrian, bless her!

In fact, I am not even sure my sister ever discovered the truth to this day. My Dad asked me the other week what had possessed me to make that up and go through it all. I had forgotten all about it to be honest, repressed it probably!!! I was still mortified, perhaps more so, as an adult trying to explain to my Dad now, than I was 21 years or so ago!

So there you have it. I hang my head in shame, still immeasurably, ever grateful, that no one at that time matched my fabricated description of a fabled kidnapper.

True story, there's probably a police report somewhere to verify it...

3 comments:

Emma said...

I still think this story is hilarious! Your poor mum must have the patience of a saint lol I'd have grounded you for a month before escorting you to the police station to tell them the truth, but then I'm mean. lol

Mrs J said...

Oh Kell, you naughty girl go to your room right now hahahaha! Wow, geez....

I never told any huge lies like that but I got caught out "doing" naughty things or telling lies occasionally.

Full marks for keeping the straight face for so long, there is no way I could have kept it up. I was never brave enough to confess if I ever did anything wrong, even if it was as bad as the story you made up, I would have carried the guilt for the rest of my life and taken that dirty secret to the grave with me.

I'm so glad you posted this because it is triggering memories of my childhood that have been unaddressed for many years.

Anita said...

Oh Kell; it is such a funny story in the re-telling and you tell it so well. It's a sign of the times I think, can you imagine how quickly a childhood story like this would be escalated and so far beyond control if it were told now? :o

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