I’ve cheated death many times. I just did it again.
I was held up on my way home. A man in a red shirt, probably in his 50s, crossed the street and kept yelling words I couldn’t understand and approached me. I instinctively moved away, thinking he was just mentally deranged; but he suddenly grabbed my laptop case. We tugged at it for a few seconds and I remembered how I was in a similar predicament eight years ago and how the boy with bloodshot eyes punched me in the gut cause I wouldn’t let go of my bag. “Let go”, I heard a voice say. Then, I saw him drawing something shiny out of his pants’ pocket. He had a knife.
I counted. One.. two.. I loosened my grip.
I watched him walk away. I called out to the nearby condo’s security guard and the high school students that looked on, frozen where they were at just ten meters away. The man briskly walked backwards. I took one step forward. “Tulungan nyo ‘ko!”. And another step. I was surprisingly unafraid. “Tulungan nyo ko!”. A private vehicle pulled over a few meters after passing me by. Nobody got out of it. I looked at the man, his right arm raised while holding the knife, “‘Wag kang lalapit!”. “Tulungan nyo ko!!!”. “‘Wag kang lalapit sabi eh!”
One second. Two seconds. He disappeared.
That’s when my surroundings grew silent. I clenched my fists. It happened. It happened again. I covered my face with my two hands and felt a few teardrops falling down. My back was hurting. My right hand stung from the tug of war. Then, a surge of hope came: “Hey, you’re alive.” And that was enough.
I would like to thank Marian for comforting me as soon as I got home, still shaking (and pissed). And I’m grateful for all the help, Tisha and Bobby (her husband who is a policeman), that you almost instantly provided. And, thank you, Toni, for all of your tears and all that scolding as you made a long distance call while I was at the police station — I know that’s how much you love me and I’m sorry for getting you worried to death. And your gentle approach in handling this, Stoli. I am grateful for colleagues (past and present) who immediately gave assistance (Nadz, especially). Our country manager told me not to depend on people to help you, “You’re a stony woman.” Our company president said, “Never mind the laptop. Never mind anything else. What’s important is your life. So good job for giving it away.”
And, yes, I’m well. I am grateful. I’ll be careful, thank you. And I’m still standing. 🙂
So take care, everyone.