Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The 'Nigellas' around us

The man had been spewing abuse for over 30 minutes. 
He ranted, he raved. She stood there, head bowed.
Who was he, I don't know. Who she was, I don't care. 
Let's be honest, they were simply a nuisance.
People walked, jogged past them
Carefully navigating around that angry, shouting man.
I understand Tamil but not what he shouted at her.
Words so crude, so cruel, they felt like stones.
My friend and I were at the park too.
We ignored the couple for as long as we could.
Why did she keep standing there, I asked myself.
Why didn't she just walk away?
Then he spat on her, and she let his spittle rain on her.

Finally, she took a few steps away, walking slowly, head bent
Eyes down, she avoided all the curious faces turning to her.
He stood there too looking after her.
He was angry, you see, that she was actually walking away.
So, he followed her on his bike.
He forced her to turn to him, shook her hard.
Still she said nothing, did nothing.
I saw the park 'regulars' watching, no one saying anything
No one doing anything.
Scared, heart beating fast I walked up to them, my friend beside me.
Why do you shout, abuse her like this, I asked?
Who are you, he screamed at me?
He abused me too in Tamil.
Thank God I don't know what he said.
But it sounded terrible, like someone stripping me of my dignity.
People gathered around, he shouted at them too.
"Go home," they told the couple, take this 'fight' home, they told him.
They didn't want to interfere, you see.
Why do you stay with him, is he your husband, I asked that woman.
She just looked at me.
When I tried to take a photo of his bike's number plate
She gently stopped me, tried to shoo me, get me to go.

Who was that man, I don't know.
Who was that woman, I don't know.
I was scared. In my heart, fear beat hard and strong.
What if he came back, targeted my friend and me?
So we walked away. She chose to stay.