Ah, youth...

The night was cool and could feel the warmth of the giant Cadillac's headlights on  my legs as it gained on us.  I turned left quickly and headed across the field towards the swing sets.  I knew the car couldn't get through the playground and on the other side was the ravine.  The car stayed with Lee, and while I was afraid of what might happen, she was an actual runner.  She was tall and ran on the cross country team.  By the time I turned to find her again, she was gone.  I couldn't see her and the car was turning back around.  Meredith was ahead of me and we ran down into the ravine. 

The gully ran around the top edge of the field and behind the playground and then emptied into a drainage  ditch that ran under the street.  I followed Meredith up towards the top of the field. 

"Where's Lee?" I asked. 

"She went down on the other side." 

In a couple of minutes she was in front of us.  We all crouched with our backs to the muddy walls of the wash and listened.  I couldn't hear anything but my own ragged breath.  Lee shimmied up to the top of the drop-off and looked around.

"I don' t see him," she said after she slid back to the bottom. 

"What should we do?" Meredith asked.

We were still rattled and I was buzzing with adrenaline.

"I don't want to go back across the field," Lee said.

"But our stuff is still on the roof," Meredith reminded her. 

"Lets walk back around the other way and go up behind the building."

We walked back the way Meredith and I had come and climbed up behind the school.  We stopped at the top and looked around before crossing the grass to the low roof and climbed back up to where we had been.  We left the wine coolers but took the candles and our bags. 

I was the first back on the ground and I peeked around the corner of the building to take a look.  By the time Meredith and Lee came down, I had walked to the other end of the building to look across the parking lot.  I wasn't sure if there was a car parked in the back in a deep shadow, but it seemed smarter to go back down the ravine and walk all the way around through the drainage pipe, under the road that ran next to the school and come up behind the houses across the street.  It would mean climbing some fences to get home, but it would mean we wouldn't be easily seen.

We were muddy and wet and I was starting to feel exhausted from the post-adrenaline crash.  By the time we came up the wash on the other side of the street, it felt like we had been up for days and we had miles to go before we were actually home.  The first fence was hard, and we decided to go through the gate and walk through the front yards to the end of the block away from the main street.  At the end of the block, we crossed the street and went through a couple more yards before landing in Meredith's block and slogging across the lawns to her driveway. 

By the time we peeled our dirty clothes off and got to sleep, it was almost 4.  My mother was coming to pick me up at 8:30, so I 'accidentally' left my dirty clothes at Meredith's.  Meredith said she would sneak them into the wash when her mom went to church. 

On Monday, before school, Lee and Meredith and I walked away from the larger group of our friends and talked about the incident in whispers.  What do you think he wanted?  I can't believe that happened.  That was so scary.  We can't tell anyone.  We told everyone.  And then never gave a second thought to it and went back to drinking wine coolers on the roof of the elementary school the very next weekend.