A Cold Wintry Night
A Cold Wintry Night5 mins 368 5 mins 368
She liked jogging. She liked moving. She was not an lazy ass even on cold mornings. That continued in Seattle, Washington, a place that had been her home for the past 3 years. No one from her life before lived here, although social media made it immensely difficult for Natasha to sever pictures' ties with everyone.
As a child, she was an introvert, silent and 'keep to herself' girl. She had been orphaned at the age of 3 when her paternal unmarried aunt promptly took her under her wings. Relatives were skeptical as to whether her favorite aunt Nina would give her up once she got married. But she kept her promise. She never gave her up. Eventually, she fell in love, married a nice, supporting guy Chris and settled down along with Natasha in countryside Kansas.
Natasha had a happy childhood. She had moved on from the tragic deaths of her parents. Everyone in Kansas loved her. Chris loved her as much as her aunt Nina. He taught her everything he taught his own daughter and son. Natasha felt at home. She attended high school here and moved to upstate for college.
Everything, literally everything went downhill from there. She was an outsider. People loved prim and proper looking but outgoing personalities (girls were mostly judged on these metrics) but she was one of the most silent girls in class. Her bohemian hippie look didn't help her either. If she was not bullied in school, she definitely got a taste of that in college. She moved on from trying to find acceptance and focused on academics and extra curricular activities.
There was something bigger, something bitter, something worse that was to come. On New year's eve, they had all gone camping for 3 days to a nearby place. She went along as this was kind of the end of college. While returning in a bus, came the mishap. Somewhere, in the forested route, they had all fallen asleep. The bus was racing at full place as it was night time and there was hardly anyone else on the deserted roads through the forest. All of a sudden, their bus started getting sudden breaks. Some people woke up and gradually all of them realized that the bus had some kind of a mechanical failure. No cell network, not a soul in sight, not a light to go forward to. There was no alternative but to just sit tight and wait for help.
And help came late, very late.
After around 20 minutes, came a bunch of guys in a Prius. They were shouting a lot and seemed drunk. Natasha was sitting inside the bus the whole time. She was sitting on the 3rd right seat on the aisle. Her seatmate had not moved from his seat either making Natasha relieved that she doesn't have to move at all to make way for him.
As soon as the Prius turned around and stopped, almost all the students sprang inside the bus. They knew they were going to get mugged. Even before they could close the door, 3 guys entered the bus. The first guy to enter had a knife in his hand. With eyes red and frowned, hands firmly holding the knife forward, he asked in a coarse tone, "Now, what all would you give me not to harm anyone?" Everyone felt a cold shudder down the back. They hardly had a lot of money and these guys seemed very very scary to the sleepy students.
As soon as the guy inched towards the third seat, his frown converted into a smirk. He had laid his eyes on Natasha. He asked her at knife point to get up and come outside. As Natasha, slowly rose up, she half expected her classmates to protest. But no... She could hear silence as she took her own time to slowly get up. She couldn't believe she was going to get assaulted in front of 25 odd people.
The guy lost some patience as he asked her to hurry up. When she finally got up and stood in front of him she gathered herself and said sternly, "I don't hurry up for ugly fuckers like you" . Slam!! Her ears deafened for a bit as the guy landed a tight slap across her left cheek. She started bleeding. The guy's ring had made a cut right across her cheek. As she wiped down, she half expected to be dragged away. Her classmates fully expected that.
As he was about to grab her, she instinctively took a step back. She closed her eyes, remembered her late parents and her adoptive parents. As Chris's voice resounded in her head, "Don't be a pussy", she moved her leg up.
Up, up, up. She kicked him right in the groin. His knife fell out the bus door and she kicked once more. As she started closing her eyes out of sheer exhaustion, she heard a shrill "Hands Up".
Next thing she remembers is Chris patting her hand and Aunt Nina looking at her through her tears in hospital.
Even though she was not harmed a lot, she took a very long time to recuperate from the emotional hurt she felt at her classmates' indifference and inaction. As years went by, she realized she was doing the one thing she never did before. Holding on to the things that caused hurt. She moved away. She moved on. The cheek scar remained. She calls it her daily mirror reminder to always move ahead, no matter how slow, no matter how small the step.