My eyes are burning due to the pepper. My forehead is twinging due to the blow it just received. My vision is blurred and it will take some time to return to normalcy. All this for trying to protect someone from impending harm.
I can hear a pair of footsteps running away. Is it her? Slowly my vision returns, though it still stings in my eyes. Yes it is definitely her. At least, she is safe now.
A few minutes ago I had tried to stop her from walking into danger. The danger in the form of a gang who were waiting for her at the foggy end of the alley. It was just before dawn and the lights were still on – the time when scum rule the streets. From the number of trains of thoughts I could read from this end of the street, there might have been two-three men – all armed and ready for the unfortunate ones who might take that alley at that hour.
When I decided to stand guard at the entrance to the alley, I was not expecting anyone in their right mind to take that path at that ungodly hour. But this frail young lady all by herself was risking it. She was walking straight to the alleyway. All I had to do was stand in front of her with arms outstretched, waving, gesturing her to go away. All I wanted was to help her. She thought otherwise.
In an instant she reached into her purse and sprayed a load of capsiacin on my face. And, maybe with that purse itself, struck my head while I was kneeling down covering my eyes with one arm.
But now I know that she is safe, at least from the ones down the alley. Sure lady, don’t mention it. I could have said to the footsteps running away.
People these days. They, for sure, know the word gratitude.
What about yesterday morning, when I tried to help that old lady downtown. She was carrying a couple of heavy bags of groceries from the supermarket. One of them slipped from her hand while she was struggling to get her car keys out of pocket. Oranges and other fruits and some cans from the overturned bag were rolling down the sidewalk. I caught up and had started picking them up for her.
That was when she kicked me on my back for trying to steal from her. I could read from her mind that she was scared of me. I left that place amidst abuses from the woman and accusing stares from the crowd that had gathered in a short time.
Or what about the other day when I saved that kid from coming under a speeding car in Fourth Street. It happened so fast, the car screeched to a halt just after I had whisked the kid off from the road pulling both of us from harm’s way. I was expecting at least a Thank You but the kid’s father and the cop who stood watching started abusing me, for no reason. Gratitude! Then the car driver joined the mix. Every now and then, one or the other would throw a remark at my colour. I was just trying to save the kid, who was now just standing there, bewildered. What does my colour of skin have to do with what I am? If I had the ability to talk, I would have asked them that.
My eyes feel better now, heart doesn’t. My Thanks points are low. I gather myself up and walk home.
When God is angry with an angel, it is banished to the human world. Its wings are burnt away and the angel has to do enough good to grow them back and return to Heaven.
First thing I did after getting back to the apartment was to take off my shirt. With my back to the mirror and my head arching back to study the reflection I find, yes, there seems to be hope after all – tiny fresh sprouts right where my old wings were burned down to the root.