Last Friday, as Hubbster and I sat around a table with relatives and friends in Perth, back in our quiet little country town in the South-East suburbs of Melbourne something untoward was afoot.
Two of my friend’s daughters, aged 9 and 10, were making their way home from school when they noticed that a silver sedan was creeping along the road behind them. Fortunately it had only been that very same morning that one of the girls had been told by her Mum to be wary of strangers after a failed attempted abduction in a town close by ours had recently happened.
The girls decided to cross the road, and instead of driving on, the driver stopped and gestured for them to cross.
Urged by their instinct that something wasn’t right the girls ran.
The car turned. The driver followed them.
A right turn, then a left turn into the cul-de-sac on which one of the girls lives.
The driver followed them.
As the girls reached the front porch, frightened out of their wits, the driver (who the girls described as having afro hair and either a dark complexion or as they both thought, mud smeared on his face) stopped, pinched his nose and rolled his eyes at them, then turned and drove away.
Naturally the police were informed. Word spread through our little community like wild-fire as parents called one another to warn them not to let their children play out in the streets unaccompanied, and parents searched for the words to explain the situation to their children so that they can be prepared and not scared.
It comes to light that the silver sedan and a man fitting the same description had been spotted earlier in the week crawling up and down another street in our town, and took off suddenly when someone went to investigate.
This morning as I walked to school with my children, I couldn’t help but scope the roads for silver sedans, to eye every man I saw suspiciously, to hold my children’s hands just that little bit tighter.
Today our little town and the world does not feel like such a safe place, and everyone is a suspect and I hate that.