This is the part two series of Loss, a challenge by Writing101.
You can find part one here -https://awanderingstoryteller.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/my-identity/
As far as I can remember, the first time that I dealt with abuse was in my tenth grade.
I used to commute to school via the school bus, since the lane where I live is very narrow, the bus wouldn’t get in, instead I had to wait at the bus stop right outside the lane. My parents never really were extra protective of me, since I was given the independence to go out on my own at a very early age, further because the bus stop was right outside the lane, they were care-free.
At the end of the lane lies another small arterial lane with a huge garbage dump. One day while I was returning from school on that road, a man who must have been close to 23-24 years of age started following me. I didn’t notice that this had been going on for a couple of days; he would wait for my bus to arrive and then follow me back home.
I thought I was big enough to deal with the nuisance maker and ignored him; slowly he started waiting for me right in the arterial lane in the mornings too and would stare and wait till I got into the bus. I began thinking it was time that I had to tell this to my parents but decided to wait a bit longer since in a week my school would be done and I would never have to see him again.
Since I was ignoring and not confronting him, he started following me around post school too. In case I would go to the market, I would find him waiting for me there, occasionally with a couple of his friends leering and passing comments.
The next day in the morning while I was going to school, he jumped right in front of me out of nowhere and blocked my path asking if we could be friends. I clearly told no and tried to walk away but he and his friends kept blocking my path, the moment I saw my school bus I made a dash for it and ran as fast as I could.
The entire day at school I was troubled, uneasiness crept in my heart and fear in my mind. I just didn’t want school to end and didn’t want to go back home, since both my parents are working, I couldn’t ask them to pick me up too. That afternoon, post school I stayed back at a friend’s place and went back home late in the evening by an autorickshaw and took the longer route because I didn’t want to chance any encounter with him.
The next day was my last day at school, I left for school earlier than my usual time just so that I could avoid him and I did. While returning back from school that day, I had completely forgotten about him, since it was the last day I would ever meet my friends and go to school, my mind was occupied elsewhere.
As soon as I walked into the lane, I remembered, I thought of going back to my friend’s place but when I couldn’t find him waiting, I thought it was my lucky day and proceeded forward. Just as I was halfway through, I could feel something creep up on my thigh, at the back of my skirt. I turned around to find that he and his friends had been stealthily following me; he had a stick in his hands and tried to put it up my skirt.
Furious yet scared, I could do the only thing my mind would tell me to do, and I ran. Ran as fast as I could to get away from there, my heart pounding and eyes brimming with tears while his laugh echoed in my ears.
Within a matter of a few weeks, my board exams ended and I had gone out of station for the summer vacations. The classes that I had joined for 11th and 12th had timings that would require me to stay in the class for most of the time, I was happy that it was this way atleast I never had to face that man again.
I would see him frequently at the market where he would hang around with his friends; a lot of times I had the deep urge of punching him hard enough to break his jaws. Whenever I looked into the mirror, all I could see was rage , fear and guilt. Guilt of not being able to defend myself, rage because I felt violated, like my personal space had been invaded. I developed a sense of fear and insecurity, all due credit to him.
Close to two years later, one day while I was walking back from college I found him doing the same things that he had done with me, to another school going girl. My tempers flare; the poor girl was cornered and started crying while requesting him to let her go. I mustered up all my courage and walked right up to him and tapped his shoulders.
He turned back to face me, and the moment I looked into his eyes, I saw a coward man. The fear that I had stored in my mind all these years were baseless. Here was a man who teased girls who were much younger than him to derive sadistic pleasure from their discomfort and pain. The girl took advantage of this moment and ran, I gave him my most threatening glare and asked him to walk away or I would complain to the police and the girl’s parents about his antics.
He instantly gave me way and walked into another adjacent lane; I stood there transfixed and watched him walk away. That instant I felt like a new me had emerged, someone who had overcome her fear and gained back her lost confidence.