The Good Samaritan.

After my fleeting moment with the lady on the train a month ago, I decided that I would no longer ignore people in times of need. Of course, in certain situations, it is sensible to think of my own safety but sometimes it is necessary to take those little extra steps to make it easier or better for others. Today was one of those days.

As I waited for the bus home from work, I caught the eye of two girls that live on my road. We have never spoken but they have always been friendly and smile at me each time we get on the same bus. They became even more excited when they discovered that we live on the same road. I am polite and smile back. Children are judged too quickly these days. People seem to fear them but why should they be condemned before they have done anything? We wouldn’t do that to anyone else yet why is it okay to judge teenagers like that?

Our bus home arrived and quickly became packed with passengers. I sat down as the two girls got on. The driver suddenly got louder and seemed to telling one girl off. I took my headphones out as they seemed to be arguing. I did not want to pry but it was very crowded and the driver was making a scene. He began shouting at the girl about her ticket, telling her that she cannot ride the bus for free and that she “needs to pay like everybody else”. She wasn’t trying to trick the system, she was waiting for her new Oyster card to be delivered and kept telling the driver it was coming in eight days.

It was pitch black out now the nights are longer and so cold; to send her out and throw her off the bus not only seemed unreasonable but totally unjust. He continued to rant at her and some exasperated groans left the mouths of the other passengers. Enough was enough, she did not need a lecture she just wanted to get home and out of the cold. We do not live in a dangerous part of London however even here, have I recently been followed by some rather dodgy men on a Friday night. It was only 6.30 in the evening but the darkness had become their cover. Thankfully, they did not harass me too much and my bus arrived to save me in time but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t petrified.

I know that girls alone, in the dark, are an easy target.

I got up from my seat and without hesitation paid the driver the extortionate £2.40 he demanded from the twelve year old girl. Both sisters kept telling me not to worry as they would just leave, but I came to their defence and plainly told the driver,

“They are children and you are very happy to throw them off the bus in the cold and in the dark. We as adults should be looking out for their safety whether we know them or not. They aren’t trying to cheat the system. They are very sensible girls”.

Okay. I didn’t know if that last part was true as we had never talked but two young teenage girls who stand up to let the elderly sit down or smile at their new neighbours, seem pretty sensible to me. They are innocents and we, in a world like this today, should be celebrating that.

In  the background while the driver began barking obscenities at me, an elderly lady said as other passengers murmured in agreement,

“She’s a good Samaritan that one”.

The young girls seemed grateful and began speaking to each other in their own language as they sat down, The younger sister blurted out,

“I’ll pay you back, I’ll go straight home and pay you back!”

I said not to worry. What’s £2? They get to go home safely, that’s all that matters. The elderly woman had her feathers ruffled as she was appalled by the driver’s attitude and manner. I just reiterated the point that they are young girls being thrown off a bus and how inappropriate and unkind that would be.

As we drove further, another older man began rummaging through an envelope and started counting some loose change. He caught my attention and handed it to me. I immediately refused and smiled telling him to put his money away. I was shocked that so many people were now coming to my need. That was so lovely to see.

The young girl did repay me later.

I told you she was sensible.

Friday 4th February 2005.

Since my father died, I have an abundance of old notes made about his incessant nitpicking and abuse. On February the 4th 2005, my father picked an argument with me over the smallest thing. The note highlights how trapped I was in his company, the fear that encroached me and the endless demands he made.

It reads,

He has guests coming in the evening. His routine of obsessive cleaning is taking place. I’ve locked myself in my bedroom. I’m too scared to come out and be forced to be a part of his army drills. I can hear him coughing loudly downstairs. What’s wrong? Something’s wrong.

(Written later)

I went downstairs, he called me there. He was waiting. There was a mark on the floor. My make up. He found it while he was hoovering. He saw it a while ago but it’s not his job to clean it. It’s mine. He needs to prove a point. I made the mess. That one little mark on the floor. A quick wipe is all it needs but I have to do it. Me. He told me to mop it up today before his friends come. I’m fed up. I want to retreat back to safer ground – my bedroom. I went upstairs mumbling something under my breath. He heard.

“What??” he shouted.

“Nothing” I replied.

He bounded up the stairs behind me. I quickened my pace.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

I shut my bedroom door. I was safe again, “Nothing!” I shouted back.

“If you are nasty then I will be nasty. If you are good then I will be good”.

I’m 23 in under a month. What kind of a father days that? He has never treated me like a daughter, never. He never lets me feel anything, I’m not allowed emotion. I have to be a robot at all times. I cannot cry, that’s wrong. I cannot get angry, that’s wrong too. I can’t even act like a child sometimes. I’m not allowed ‘bad moments’. I have to be perfect. I have no free will. He keeps using money as a threat. If he ever gives me anything he has accounts for how much, when and where. I can’t breathe! Let me breathe.

This was how my father behaved nine years ago. Yet right up until his death he never changed. He had the same attitude towards me till the very end. He held all the power. Not any more.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn