This morning, I rolled over in bed and pretended to still be asleep so I could squeeze in a little social media time before having to confront the day ahead. It was only 6AM and David had already gone downstairs with the boys. It was only going to be a quick 5 minute review of the latest friend posts. Then I saw my friend Becca’s latest blog post about that time she nearly died while we vacationed in Daytona Beach for Spring Break. It made me laugh out loud reading through the deadly story she shared only because that trip was doomed from the start! We were a couple of still too good for our own good Sophomores at BC when we decided to try our first big Spring Break getaway to none other than Daytona Beach. Now you might be thinking, this is the destination of choice for co-eds. Except BC’s break was at least 3 weeks before springtime temps so we headed to Daytona in February. While most coeds would immediately hit up some hostel near the water where college kids were guaranteed to find underage drinking, boys in high supply, and parties all hours of the day, we settled down at my grandmother’s boyfriend’s condo about 15 miles north of Daytona in Ormond Beach. Aside from our group of 8 girls, the next youngest resident at the Surfside North Condo must have been a snow bird from Canada spending retirement down south. It was a quiet, slow, and very low-key spring break. We baked cupcakes, watched TV, read books on the sand, and did homework! Not your typical Spring Break vacation but we were also pretty naive and I think we still are and I like that.
The wildest thing we did was we hung out with a couple of Embry-Riddle boys. My high school boyfriend, Vinny, was attending Embry-Riddle, and Becca fell for one of his friends, and we all went out a few nights to hang out with the boys our age and dance at a club. Becca was super sick & still trying to get some time with her boyfriend, Kellyanne was trying to take care of Becca and be her wingman, Kaelin wasn’t interested in the boy nonsense and frosted our cupcakes with neon green frotsting, Laura was ready to drag Kaelin out to the club with us come hell or high water, and I was interested in getting some solo time with Vinny. It was all a bit silly and dramatic and the condo was decorated like an old man bachelor lived there because oh yea one did for at least 6 months a year! Vinny and his friends entertained us with fashion shows of Bermuda shirts and golf pants from Mr. Mueller’s wardrobe which he had left behind in the closets.
Then one night, Becca went to the hospital and I was held up at gun point. I was coming home from dinner with Vinny. We pulled into the parking garage and just when Vinny turned off the car, he turned about and shouted “Duck.” Now, in a crisis, some people are born with the natural ability to follow orders or the ability to take the lead. In this moment, I heard “Duck” and immediately whipped around and saw a car had pulled up behind us, and a man was leaning out of his window with a gun beckoning us out. My immediate thought was, “This is how I die,” time to freeze up like a goat. Somehow Vinny made a move towards his car door and as he opened the door to follow the orders of the assassin, the car alarm went off and the driver hit the gas and sped away. Shaken and confused and sick to my stomach, I dialed the police and gave a rambling description of what happened and where we were. What felt like a lifetime later, the police arrived and escorted us into their car to identify the suspect who had been pulled over down the road for speeding. It felt like a daze and we saw the person again this time from behind the safety of the police car’s spotlight. He was apprehended and the police drove us back to the condo. We were given the card for the sergeant and told we would be hearing from a lawyer and going to court and coming down for depositions and going to trial, and my mind was racing. We walked into the condo to see our friends and I immediately burst into tears.
It has been over ten years since this happened, ten years since we botched our Spring Break which had some of us hospitalized and others of us mugged, but after the PTSD settled down for me, the silver lining to this wild tale (which I have never written down) is that I have never had jury duty and might never since my status is “victim” and so maybe something random did come out of that odd and funny friend vacation. It’s funny how despite all of our good intentions to have a mild Spring Break we still ended up with a hospital visit and crime checked off for our accomplishments. Interestingly, neither Becca nor I stayed with the boys who were present during those daunting times. Why did I add that? I am not sure, but I guess I always thought after experiencing something like that, something like an armed attack we would be linked forever, but not so much.