10 seconds

The lights of the white car with tinted windows are on full beam as it swerves at the woman walking towards it along the roadside. The arms of a man appear out of the open front passenger window. The short sleeve of his dark checkered shirt and a scar on his left lower arm are all that is identifiable along with his pale palms that stand out in night light.  As the hands make their move on the bag, the woman instinctively places her own on the leather strap on each side of her handbag that she wears across her body. In a swoop, the beige bag and all its content, disappears through the window as the car accelerates. The woman, who is physically attached, spins around and topples onto the dirt road like a fallen tree. Her upper body rises in determination, her hands locked to the strap, elbows on the ground as if lying on a beach board being dragged over water. There is no board or water, only the rough stones in the dirt ripping at her clothing and skin. Her blue silk scarf has worked its way loose and flutters up in the turbulence and escapes into the dark. Her body is now dangerously close to the rear wheel, and the few people around watch helplessly, stunned to be witnessing such an event.  Her hold falters slightly under the strain, and the leather strap works its way up her back and over her head. Her foot hits a larger stone and in reflex, she lifts it up. The revs of the car engine roar as the driver shifts gear and the car bolts forward. The woman looks up at the window where the bag is now secure inside the car. Her eyes follow the strap down to her knuckles clenched white, her Safire ring sparkles. Only her hands are now holding her to this bag that was once hers. The dirt road passes like a blur beneath her body; she should end this torture - she could let go. Her hands loosen, and the leather strap instantly whips her fingertips in a parting gesture. The red taillights speed away, and the dust settles around her, her arms bloodied stretched out in the direction of the speeding white car with tinted windows, its lights still on full beam. The ground comes into focus, she rests her left cheek on the hard raw dirt. Ten seconds no more that was all it took. Ten seconds to move a life from before to after those ten seconds.  

That was it, it was over, the car drove off with my money and passport. I may have fallen once but I never fell again. Paulo my dear office colleague for many years and good friend cared for me over the next few days like I was his sister. The care and support from those with me was amazing.  I realise today how lucky I am. Is it luck? or do we give what we get and I got so much love. I had a guardian angel with me that evening who saved me from far worse injuries, and I have the people who cared for me and made sure I healed quickly. I am humbled and touched by the kindness. They picked me up, brushed me down and got me on my feet again.

Thank you.



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