A Kind Man

By Caridad

My home town of Cojimar is on the outskirts of the capital.
My home town of Cojimar is on the outskirts of the capital.

It’s a long way to get to my house. I leave work in the evening, and the bus drops me close to a mile away. That can be a suffocating distance in the daytime, yet after eight in the evening, it’s not advisable for a woman to walk alone either; the first four hundred yards are really dark and desolate.

Last night, like almost always, I had to make that trip after ten o’clock. Walking in front of me was a man, who I tried to maintain a certain distance from. He noticed me, slowed down and – smiling – offered to accompany me until we got to a lighted area.

“It’s always better to be seen with somebody…just in case somebody’s up to no good…” he advised.

Since I picked up some kind of positive energy in him, I accepted his invitation and said thanks.

Although I’ve never had problems in this area, others have.

When I was younger, I lived in a much more remote place along one of those highways walled in by trees and thicket.

I was once coming home from school and crossed paths with a big fat guy, who immediately reminded me of a bear. When passing by me, one of his paws grabbed me on the butt.

I don’t know about other countries, but in mine that’s the worst thing a stranger can do to a woman. I didn’t think for even a second. I charged the plodding ursine – feeling felt like the female version of Bruce Lee – and gave him the most violent kick I could imagine.

Maybe I have too much imagination, because the “big kick” I tried to give him landed gently in the thick hands of this colossus, who held on to my foot refusing to let go.

So for several minutes I was jumping around on one leg, demanding that he let loose – now feeling more like Alicia Alonso than Bruce Lee. My only defense was my words, threatening to get even viler and to scream with all my lungs until somebody heard me.

Maybe he decided it was too much effort for such a small prey, and he wound up releasing my humiliated and useless foot, though it was prepared to do battle again if necessary.

That has not been the only unhappy encounter I’ve had with men in isolated places. Fortunately, I’m more mature and I look less easy to attack than when I was a teen.

Some men feel comfortable assaulting young women, but that was not the case last night. This time I could give thanks to that kind man and for getting home without a scare.