So I started writing Chapter Seven of How I Became Mrs. Galster today. I got to the point where I was about to write about why Ricky and I decided to get a dog right when we moved in together and the original dog we had – Frank – when I realized a little back story was necessary. And the back story kind of turned into it’s own post. SO: here’s the story that goes behind my fear of being home alone as well as why I have a bad ass security system, sleep with a taser next to my bed and felt like I needed my own personal guard dog. I’ll forewarn you that this story is not very pretty and may leave a bad taste in your mouth – at the very least, it will encourage you to keep MACE in your purse. So basically, this happened well before I ever met Ricky but helps to explain the next chapter a little more. Oh, and I’ll post the real Chapter Seven later this week…
When I was 25, I lived in St. Paul with one of my girlfriends. We had a cute little apartment on Selby Avenue right above a little coffee shop. It was very “Friends”-esque. At the time, her boyfriend of two years lived about seven blocks from us in a condo on Grand Avenue. One night we went out on the town, one of our friends was hosting a party at an art gallery in Minneapolis. Afterward, we ended up at Mary’s* boyfriend’s house for food and a scary movie festival – what can I say, it was right around Halloween that year. We both planned on sleeping over and then heading back to our place in the morning.
When I woke up the next day, it was about 7:30 in the morning. I really just wanted to get a start to my day – the weather was gorgeous and fall-like, and going for a walk sounded like a fantastic idea. I was wearing running shorts and a t-shirt, so I just figured I’d walk back to our apartment instead of waking up Mary and her boyfriend to give me a ride. That part of St. Paul is very safe – it’s full of old historic mansions and I knew there would be a lot of people out running, so I didn’t feel strange about walking home.
I was about two blocks from home when I noticed some guy walking towards me from a block away. It gave me a terrible feeling in my gut so I decided to go walk down the next street instead of the one I was on. After all, he was heading the opposite direction as me, so if I was on another street it was unlikely I would see him again. Wrong.
As I neared the parking lot of my building – we’re talking steps away at this point – I heard someone yelling behind me. I turned around and it was the same guy that I had seen two blocks earlier. Not recognizing him, I turned around and kept walking – and heard him running after me. Thinking that he was just going to try to talk to me, I kept my face forward and picked up the pace. And then he jumped on my back and tried to tackle me from behind.
He wasn’t all that big and I’m pretty strong, so I just kept yelling at him to get the EFF off of me and kept pulling forward, which dragged him along with me. Honestly, I don’t know if that was because I actually am that strong or if it was an adrenaline rush. Suddenly he told me that I better shut up or he was going to kill me – I realized that he had a knife to my stomach and that he was trying to drag me towards the alley.
Like many women, I had had nightmares about situations like these. I had taken self defense courses and been kickboxing since high school, thinking that it would prepare me to fight back at anyone who tried to attack me. In the moment, I had absolutely no physical recourse – he had my arms bound because he had his own wrapped around me as he trying to knock me off balance. I knew what my chances of staying alive were if I complied with him in any kind of way. I didn’t even think – I just started screaming at the top of my lungs.
It scared the ish out of him. Actually, it scared the crap out of me, too – I didn’t know my lungs were capable of making a noise that loud! He ran across the parking lot and stood there staring at me – which gave me a good sixty seconds to take inventory of this guy. Shaking, I pulled my phone out and called 911. As I was talking to the dispatcher, a good Samaritan – a woman in her late sixties – pulled up next to me in her car. She was on her way to church and had heard me screaming. She listened to me give the description of what happened and the guy that tried to jump me to the police dispatch and took off.
I waited for a cop to show up in the middle of the parking lot more because I didn’t think my legs were going to work than actually wanting to wait for the police to show up. To be honest, all I wanted to do was go and hide in my apartment. About ten minutes later the good Samaritan retured – she had found the guy who attacked me and followed him until he turned to go down a set of stairs leading into downtown St. Paul. As the officer arrived, he took a statement from each of us and got a message that they had found a man matching the description I had originally given near Children’s Hospital in downtown St. Paul.
The officer loaded both of us in to the back of his patrol car and the woman who came to my rescue showed him exactly where she followed him to. When we got to where he was arrested, I had to identify him and give a formal statement. This led into months of no-contact orders and legal proceedings – during which I found out a lot of things about this person I never wanted to see again. He was two months shy of turning 18 and had a history of committing felonies – he already had six on his record. I was chosen at random – just a girl he had seen walking down the street. He had just stolen a car and his intent had been to kidnap, rape and kill me. I get sick to my stomach just writing this – because I realize how close I came to being a body that was dumped on the side of a road.
The trial process went on for quite some time. Ultimately, the judge refused to charge him as an adult – despite his previous offenses – but did give him a special kind of sentence that basically says if he commits another crime before the age of 21 he’ll have to serve the prison time that he would have served HAD he been originally sentenced as an adult. I do keep tabs on him – I think I would be stupid not to. But where he is right now is not what the point of this story is.
After this happened, I could barely walk down the street by myself. I started to carry MACE with me where ever I went. I refused to go out of the house after dark. I bought a taser to keep next to my bed. I learned how to shoot a gun. Slowly, I recovered – but I still have a hard time being home by myself – not to mention there’s no WAY I can go for a walk alone. Which brings us full circle – and is basically the reasoning behind why I decided I needed a big dog. And the start of the story on how we eventually got Lucy.
*Names have been changed
Read more on How I Became Mrs. Galster