Contract Bridge For the World
Togliatti, Russia. February 13-14, 2006. (I wrote it couple hours ago, and no one proof read it).
Near Midnight. I was in the car on my way home from “playing” bridge. One of club players was planning to drop me off near my apartment building. At the last minute I changed my mind and asked him to leave me at the grocery store that was 5 blocks (NYC blocks) away from my place. There, I got some food and was excited to get home and have some late dinner.
I liked my rented apartment, I liked that no one is there, except picture of fat happy orange cat on bright green grass. I didn’t feel lonely, I was happy to spend some time by myself. I also liked my freedom to go out with no questions asked. I cooked and ate when I wanted. I even took care of myself when I got sick. In short, I loved my Independence.
It was still Monday when I left that store and was waiting to cross the roads. As usual I was listening some songs, and dreaming about my future trip to America. That day I finally got paper that says that I don’t have any criminal record. I had to spend two month of waiting, including trip to Samara. So that paper was very important resting in my purse.
I used to walk home by myself from school or from playing with other kids. It was never that late but usually dark, especially in the winter. I always imaging that there some one might attack me and it is important for me to be ready to run or to surprise my attacker with some unpredictable move. I listened the air, I looked throughout the darkness, my body was ready to castle. I saw some people and shadows but nothing ever happened.
I approached my building and had couple hundred feet until my podezd (one of the entrances to the apartment building). I saw on my left there was a shadow of man walking towards me. Naturally, I felt alert but tried not to feed my imagination. I stared walk faster and got ready my magnetic key. I quickly opened a door. But as many other magnetic doors, this one were closing automatically and slowly. I knew that and the man behind me knew that too.
I had a chance to run up small stairs but I was stopped on a first floor. What exactly happened is hard to reconstruct. I was pushed to the wall with one hand and another hand was trying to remove my purse from my shoulder. While I was holding with both hands on my precious bag. I was furious, and angry: “This man is actually attacked me! How can he dear to do that! I’m never going to give up anything without a fight!’. I could not really fight with him he was big and he had heavy leather jacket down to his knees. I could not use common technique against that man – his jacket was protecting him. That man was definitely physically stronger than I am. I started scream very loud, I didn’t care if I wake up everyone in the building. Unfortunately, I knew form my experience that scream sound scares people, so they definitely would never open their door to help me. But I didn’t have any other solution. Because of the scream, he started hit me in my face and threating to kill me. I could not gave up, something in side me also screamed: “It my purse, it is my life, it is not fare, no one can touch me without my permission!”
He dragged me from stares to the area near the magnetic door, I was on a floor and it was hard to resist. He got my purse but I still held the straps until they snapped from by bag. He ran. I got up from the floor and ran outside too. I looked on my left – there was no one, I looked on my right - there was no one and only that man was running with “my life”. I turned to his direction, determined that I can run faster and would catch him and get my stuff back. Suddenly, I saw two men were running from the black car and undercutting my attacker. They pushed him on a snow and held him. One of the men gave my purse back and ask if I want to call a police or just let him go. For one second I wanted let him go – at least he didn’t’ t kill me and I got my purse back. But suddenly I was scared that this guy might come back to hurt me.
Every Togliatti’s block had there own phone number for police. I didn’t know it. But one of them man who caught my attacker did and also there was a big painted sign with police number on a wall of my apartment building.
They arrived twenty minutes after my call. Police took me and that man.
Before car came, I was standing outside listening silence, looking at red bloody spots on a white snow. The flow of adrenalin stop pumping my head and I felt tired. I thought that it is all my fault: It was not smart of me to be so brave in deserted midnight.
I was at investigator room writing statement when one of the man who caught my attacker came to check if I were ok.
The investigation officer was young, attractive woman. She was eating cake and saying out loud: “Couldn’t you come like tomorrow?! Why does this have to happen on a Valentines night?!”. She got our personal information: names, address, date of birth and etc. When she found out that we just met, and he is my savior. She turned to us and said smiling: “How romantic!”
Now I could see that guy in the light. According his date of birth he was 17, but looked a little bit older. His lower lip had some blood on it, and his face I could see his hard life and his not going to any collage, institute or university.
On his own inisiativve he drove me to different places. After spending all night at investigation officer, in the morning he brought me to the traumatology where I was checked on how many bruises do I have.
While he was with me he was quiet or comforted me with words. He refused to take any material gift from me. He accepted my words of gratiude and he said that he could not act differntly. I don’t even remember his name now.
Month after that was formal court. That man who attacked me was sad and didn’t looked at me. I read his statemen about what happened. He was drank and he was on his way to see his lover. But he saw me first. He mentioned that becaue I didn’t give up my stuff and he had to hit me and dragg me down the stairs.
He was recidivist and that time he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
I remember his grey sweater with some ornament. It reaminded me of my childhood, my brother had similar sweater. Growing up myself in a poorneigborhood I saw how childern could become criminals. I felt very sad, I wished I go back to his childhood and show him a different life without violence.