I went to town for peace of mind. I hoped that being within the crowd would actually heal and mend my broken heart. I had just gotten out of a devastating relationship, but that’s a story for another day.
I went between noisy people in order to find a table to catch some air. My feet were too weak to carry me for a kilometre or so. I dribbled ranting children as I had spot the perfect place to rest. I walked super quickly, almost not touching the ground. The air was sufficient for someone in my predicament. My nose was filled with boogers, prohibiting efficient respiration for me. I finally landed in my destination.
I pulled a stool and sat on it, panting. My breath was as heavy as the engine of a truck. I buried my head on a table top, as my vision was starting to blur. I shut my eyes hard, to regain strength and hopefully a clear vision. That’s the trick I learnt in Biology class. Have I ever told you about the Biology class I attended? Well, that’s another story for someday. I battled to open my eyes. I won. Everything was once again clear. I had stopped breathing hard, thanks.
The three lads of about my age, or so I assumed, pulled stools too and joined me. That made us four. They were all chewing gum. They all had leather jackets on. Tattoos were flaunted around their necks as if they were in a tattoo exhibition. I tried to fake a smile and waved at them. They remained emotionless as if they were in a lecture listening to whatever was taught attentively. I started to get worried, but was relieved that I had no wallet in my pocket. Only my phone.
They were up to no good. I sensed it. Perhaps I was just being paranoid. They looked at each other as if it was time to perform whatever plot they had planned. They glared at me when I was watching them straight into their eyes. I got the message, loud and crystal clear. To me, the table top became the most interesting object on Earth. I had no choice but to stare at it to avoid eye contact with these mysterious brothers.
Did that make me a coward?
Well, better safe than sorry. You all know the drill, safety first. Then everything next. The man in front of us paid for his bill, in cash. Oh no! These guys all grinned widely as if they just won the jackpot. That was it, I wanted to leave right then. When I stood up, the guy across me pulled the leg of my stool hindering me to leave. When I opened my mouth to protest, the guy seated next to me showed me his shiny, silver material. Yes, you guessed it right. It was a blade. The shiver was automatically sent down my spine. I imagined my throat being cut like an animal. To avoid that thought to be fulfilled, I zipped my mouth and sat still.
The man in front of us put his wallet back after paying. Still, the tip of the wallet was visible which simplified the task for the guys around me. I silently prayed for the man to leave right then. My prayer didn’t succeed. The man stretched his arms and relaxed as if everything in his life was smooth. I cursed the innocent man. The other two guys positioned themselves. They were on either sides of the man. The other one patted my pockets and took out my phone. He typed: “Not a word from you. Or tonight you’ll meet your Maker” accompanied by a smiley.
I raised my head and nodded at his gaze. He smiled, kissed air and mouthed “Good, lover boy”. Typical!
They made their move. The guy on the right side squeaked the stool on the floor and hit it sending thuds to their target. Fish got caught! The man looked over his shoulder, irritated. The guy on the left, professionally fished the wallet from the back pocket of the man. The guy that made the sounds apologised to the man. If he only knew! He promised to leave right then. They all did, with victory. As if they planned, they turned around and indicated that I must zip my mouth. I felt bad about all that.
After they were nowhere to be seen, the man stood up, obviously leaving. You’re too late, I thought to myself. He searched his pockets and found nothing. That was painful to witness, really. The man turned to face me, fuming with anger. He accused me of being a thief. I tried to explain but was too late. Something strong and square collided with my right jaw. My nosed dried off as his second shot was fired right on my nose.
I grew wings and flew until I landed on the store’s cold, tiled floor. Saliva mixed with blood escaped my already open mouth. The next thing I felt was my rib cage forcing its way to meet the other. The man had kicked me like a soccer ball. He beat me to a pulp. To stop him, I pretended to be dead. The last time I saw him was the time he rushed out of the shop scrubbing his head, with his teeth clenched.
I lay there like a pile of rubble after an earthquake. Pain influenced my body like a wave that an ocean can’t control. I winced. I groaned in agony but no one thought of helping me out.
I didn’t blame him. I never held a grudge against him until date. My heart was way too light to hold heavy stuff like a grudge. I forgave him. I woke up and stumbled back to my apartment.
Tell us: Have you ever witnessed a crime and couldn’t do anything to help?