Cindy and I ended up pulling over and driving into a gas station for a pit stop shortly after she had informed me that she would tell me why she needed to go to Oregon. I took the keys completely out of the ignition and grabbed my wallet out of my purse leaving nothing truly valuable behind—or at least what I considered invaluable.
I stepped out of the car to run inside the little mini mart at the gas station and use the restroom, and on the way out I bought a couple bags of chips and two water bottles for the long journey north. When I did make it back to my car Cindy’s face was contorted in a way that made her seem incredibly mortified by my presence.
“What?” I said with a concerned tone. “I bought Lays because I didn’t know what kind of chips you would want. I can get something else. Don’t freak out.”
She continued to give me the mortified look. “I didn’t think that they would have someone follow me and convince me to get in their car. I wasn’t going to do anything,” she began to look as if she was going to cry. “Just let me go.”
I shook my head in confusion. “What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t—I don’t even know what you’re saying.”
“Where are you taking me?” she asked. “I’m not going back if that’s what they had in mind.”
“Who’s they? What’s going on? I’m not even sure if I want any of those questions answered.” I started to panic. What has this girl done? What have I gotten myself into? Is she going crazy or have I? I didn’t know what to do or how to get her out of the car without hurting me if she was crazy.
“Just please calm down.” I said visibly afraid. “I don’t want any trouble.”
“Then why are you taping me?” I saw a tear roll out of her eye and down her cheek.
I didn’t understand what was going on, and I was so incredibly confused as to what she was trying to tell me. “Why am I what? I’m not taping you. What the hell is going on?”
“Why was this in your bag?” She took out a tape recorder from her pocket and held it up for me to see.
I suddenly shifted from confusion to anger. “Why were you going through my purse?”
“I needed to know that it was safe, but I guess I made a terrible decision stepping into this car.”
I paused for a moment trying to collect my thoughts and calm down in order to find out what she was saying. I suppose it was odd that a random person would carry a digital recorder and a note pad in her purse. “I don’t think you understand,” I said to her now trying to comprehend her thought process. “I have a digital tape recorder in my purse because I’m a Journalism student. I use it to tape interviews, but I always let the person know that I’m recording them.” I pointed to the “on” button. “Here, push that and then press play.”
I let her listen to the interviews that I had with sports players, student council members, club leaders and professors. “See. I didn’t record you. I’m just a student Journalist on the school’s paper with a WordPress blog. There’s nothing threatening about me. I’m just a writer”
Cindy looked at me and then down at the recorder again. “I’ll keep a hold of this until you drop me off at my final destination then.”
“Okay. That’s fine I guess, but I’m not out to get you or anything.” I was honestly just relieved that she wasn’t going to whip out a knife and kill me over a digital recorder.
“I believe you,” she paused for a moment to scan her surroundings outside of the window. “I just have to be cautious.” She then looked down at the recorder again, “I think you’ll be able to help me out more than I originally planned though.”
Read the story, “Shock Wave,” every Wednesday.