One scorching afternoon on a dusty street.

The bus halted lazily.

I jumped in and found a window seat.

the breeze was warm but still pleasing.

the soft music in the driver’s cabin soothing.

Then those eyes entered; hungry eyes; hunting for its prey.

With a wicked smile on the face.

I avoided looking in his direction.

But his eyes kept gazing at me.

And he rested rudely in the seat near me.

I could feel his heavy breath,  

Suddenly I froze; his arm pressing against my body.

I could not scream nor shout. I could not take help.

I tried to push away his bloody arm, but I was frail and ashamed

What will people say? I was barely in my early teens.

Thankfully, my destination arrived.

And I left the bus angry, very angry.

A few years later…

I boarded a bus again.

A man from one corner squeezed through the crowd to reach me.

Maybe he guessed I was helpless, powerless

He stood close invading my space, making me uncomfortable.

Refusing to submit, I looked straight in his eyes

And fiercely said, “Can’t you stand properly”

He was embarrassed

He pushed himself through the crowd again to stay back in the same place where he stood before.

But I could not stop staring at him in anger.

And he was bitterly ashamed to look at me.

This time, I left the bus again with anger, as things had not changed.

But content that I could fight back and was no longer frail.

image: Manki Kim, unsplash