Before my parents built a woodworking shop and showroom Daddy built furniture in our basement. Our living room and sewing room were used as the showroom. A little bell was attached to the sewing room door, and every time a customer entered it would ring to alert us there was someone there.
I was fourteen the day when my parents had to go somewhere, leaving me in charge of caring for any customers that might stop in. It had been a fairly quiet day, but toward evening the bell jangled and I hurried into the "showroom" in hopes I would be able to get a nice order written up before my parents got back.
Three men stood there. Immediately I felt uneasy. I tried to brush the feeling away because customers came in all kinds of different appearances and just because they made me feel uncomfortable didn't mean it should.
I went through the whole spiel about how they can customize anything they see in the showroom and we can build it to their vision. They didn't say much and kept looking at me. Finally one of them asked if I knew when my parents would be back. I naively told them I didn't. He then asked if I ever considered being a model, that they would be happy to start my career. His friend with a long scraggly gray beard affirmed the offer and added some more comments.
I no longer felt uncomfortable, I felt fear. I still don't know how I did it, but I flew up the stairs, into my room, slammed the door shut and locked it. I leaned against it, frozen. My heart pumping wildly as I listened to make sure they didn't follow me upstairs and hoped with everything in me that the lock would hold.
After what seemed like an insufferably long time they left, and shortly thereafter my parents came home. I have no idea why I didn't tell them what happened, but simply went about helping Mom prepare supper.
Remembering this still gives me shudders, and makes me so thankful that I listened to my flight instinct.