I will never forget the face of the man who tried to rob me.
When he placed his arm on my shoulder and pointed his hand on my neck. He whispered, "Give me your bag lest I kill you." When he forcefully grabbed my bag until I fell on the pavement while I screamed and pleaded for help. And no one did.
When, in desperation, he bit my fingers to disarm me. And when he failed, one last pull, he ran away. I was trembling; my heart was beating thrice faster than normal. And when I looked down, I saw blood on my hand. My wrist was bleeding. Another bite -- a deep wound -- by that hungry animal.
Was it too easy to prey on me because I'm small? Do I really look that helpless? Man, looks are deceiving. And you might have thought women don't fight.
Until now, my wounds have yet to heal. The deepest is still wide open, and doctors say it might stay that way. A mark of a struggle that shouldn't have happened -- because we ought to work hard to survive. It's a mark that will make me remember to always stay on guard and never ever be complacent. Because it's safe nowhere.
It will never be the same again. This wound may heal, but I will never forget the face of that man. I don't want to leave home these days. Call it trauma or paranoia. It will be more difficult to trust passersby and strangers who I walk with at the MRT, mall, and sidewalks. I see robbers anywhere. You may be eating with them at a restaurant or standing side by side with them at the bus station. They may just be behind you while you are buying your favorite drink at the convenience store. Or you may be making eye-contact with them as you cross the street.
As investigation is under way, I'm getting information that that guy is just lurking around, freely wandering the streets while his victims are suffering a trauma from his bad deed. Others are saying he's hiding far from authorities who are looking for him. He's been in and out of jail. Two counts of robbery: sentence served. Petty crimes, that's what they call it. But for those whom he victimized, petty is a disturbing, insulting word.
One said his father used to be like him. So has it become a profession in a poor country where more than half are living by below a dollar every day? And so there are families of lawyers, doctors, artists, and engineers. Then, there are families of robbers.
It pains me to think he is feeding his children and family by stealing. By leaving a mark in other people -- in a terribly awful way.
As I type, my right hand is hurting. It's my wound, my open wound, that wants to heal but cannot yet. Because healing takes time.
Here's to ladies -- and even men -- who have fallen prey to robbers. Here's to hoping that the bad men will get what they deserve. That the wheels of justice may spin to our favor. Heaven knows what to do to them. Karma, so to speak.
And that me may forget how they look like and sleep soundly, in peace again.