First Outdoor Experience at Night

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Knowing there was no way to stop my crusade of pouts, my father reluctantly gave me permission to go outside past 7 pm. It was after sunset, and my dad looked outside nervously. “It’s not safe and you’re too young.” He pleaded. Nevertheless, I was quite the stubborn kid. I wouldn’t cut him any slack even for a moment. Oh boy, if only I hadn’t been so naïve.

   

 I strutted down the hall feeling the most confident I ever have. My head held high as my swagger rose through the roof. I headed straight for the front door, freedom within my grasp. I slowly turned the handle and, once the door swung open, was immediately greeted by the cold with a slap to the face. Winter in Japan, how could I forget? I glanced back at my dad only to see a smug grin. “See ya at 9, buddy. Come back when you’re re-” was all I heard before the door cut him off. Now the real fun begins.

     

Before I even began my journey, I knew where to venture first. My friend Devin’s house. He only lived 3 houses down from me.  I began trekking towards his “Humble Abode” as he called it. My arms were cold so I began rubbing them. Fun fact, a human’s normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. We suffer mild hypothermia at 95 degrees and amnesia at 91 degrees. So for me to go out in a short sleeve shirt and pajama pants was honestly pretty idiotic. But then again, I was 8 years old at the time. As I rubbed, I began to feel little bumps across the length of my arms. Goosebumps, I thought to myself as I realized just how cold it was. Goosebumps appear when we’re cold to limit heat loss from our body, a trait passed down from our ancestors who had a humorous amount of hair. It short it was cold, real cold, like Antarctica levels of cold. I could see my breaths as I exhaled. A child’s sign that it was cold. I ran up the stairs to Devin’s door and whispered to myself. “I made it.” I banged on the door and a few seconds later my friend opened the door with a backpack filled with snacks and a flashlight. Oh we had this night planned. Hang out at the park, then walk to our fort in the woods, and finally a sleepover at my house. Yeah…it didn’t quite happen like that.

     

The trip to the park went smoothly. It was simple to get there. The difficult part was finding the trail that led to our fort. However, thanks to the flashlight, we were prepared. Sadly, it was out of batteries. This did not deter our ambitions. We were going to make this night happen. We decided to try and use the moon as a light to find the trail. This is where it all went wrong. We trudged through the dead leaves that littered the main pathway on the lookout for the path. However, right as we were about to spot it, a cloud covered the moon causing it hide in the shadows. Sneaky, sneaky path. Continuing straight we found ourselves in a new neighborhood. Perplexed, we made a U-turn only to see, much to our dismay, 3 different paths. Not knowing which path we arrived from, and being the innocent kids we were, we went down the path closest to us because, hey logic. Let’s just say, the next hour was us screaming for help, looking for a way out, and a lot of crying. However, in the middle of our 4th crying fit, there was a rustling in the bushes to our left. Startled, Devin and I hid behind a log. We both hid as the rustling grew louder and louder. “This is it” I thought. “Any second a wolf is going to jump out and eat us” That’s when I heard a familiar voice calling my name. The neighbors! They must have heard our cries for help. We jumped up from behind our log and ran to them hugging their legs. “Let’s get you home” the father said in a tenderly voice.

     

My dad was very thankful and I was still recovering from the traumatic experience. My body was still littered with goosebumps and my head still clogged by thoughts of wolves eating us. I promised to never go out at night again. A promise I forgot a weak later when a female friend asked me to come out but that’s another story. Being outside that night showed me how frightened I was of being out at night. I shouldn’t have tried to grow up too fast especially to prove a point to my father who always knew best. I should just stick to what I’m comfortable with instead of biting off more than I can chew. I really need to take my own advice sometimes.






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