Friday, November 28, 2014

I entered the train carriage and by habit, I didn't bother looking for a seat for fear of the pressure of having to give it up afterwards and headed straight for the little space beside the doors and the glass panel separating me from the person sitting on the end of the row of seats, the seat they call the "reserved seat". I had my earphones on and I could barely hear anything around me. 

I noticed an elderly man sitting a few seats away from the reserved seat looking, in a rather shocked manner, at the man standing in front of the lady who was seated on the seat. The strange pairing caught my attention - the man appeared to be a stereotypical "Ah Beng" with slightly messy hair, a face that was extremely Chinese-looking and he wore a singlet. The lady, on the other hand, was in a tailored work dress with her hair pulled up into a bun and mascara applied on her eyelashes. Their conversation piqued my interest, and I removed the earphone stuck in my left ear to hear what they were saying. 

Taylor Swift was singing in my right ear and I couldn't hear what the man was saying to the lady, but he had on a very harsh and strong tone which looked extremely intimidating. From his body language, it seemed to be like he was in a position of control over the woman, and I was quite captivated by the relationship they had with one another - it was so strange in a way that made me very interested. The man had placed his duffel bag on the lady's lap, which I didn't think was very gentleman-like. After a while though, the train got very crowded and I didn't really focus my attention on the couple anymore. 

As the train pulled into Serangoon station, which was where I was going to alight, I noticed that the lady stood up and she moved forward towards the door and the man was right behind her. At that moment, I was in the best position to observe them and I was facing the man directly, though he wasn't looking at me. A movement caught my eye and I saw that the man flicked open a knife and was clutching it at his waist level. I was horrified, and scared, looking away immediately, praying that he didn't see that I spotted it. When the train doors opened, I let them leave first before following behind and making sure I didn't step on the man's toes. 

The man kept walking behind the lady and she never did look back once. She stared straight all the time as I followed them. At that point in time, so many things were running through my mind due to the appearance of the knife. More than not, I was afraid and worried for the lady and really concerned at what their relationship even was and how they were related. As I followed them, I kept on staring at the man. He looked back and caught me looking in his direction. I was so nervous and I immediately turned and walked away. 

I lost them soon after trying to save myself from being caught. I spent the next hour walking around the mall trying to gather my thoughts but all that I could think of were the worst case scenarios that could have occurred just because I wasn't brave enough, just because I wasn't strong enough and really just because of my inaction. One of it was that the man was actually holding the lady hostage, which explains the bag he placed on her lap to stop her from running away and the appearance of the knife was to threaten her, to let her know that when the train doors opened, she should jolly well follow his instructions and walk in a calm manner rather than running off. I'm not sure what he would do to her afterwards but what I'm hoping is that all he took from her were monetary or material possessions. 

It's just insane, the many things that could have happened because I failed to do something bigger than myself. I did nothing when there was possibly someone else in a much more vulnerable position than I was. Then again, I wasn't very sure of their relationship or the exact reason why the man whipped out his knife. Perhaps it's his way of displaying masculinity or something but I still feel guilt-ridden because in hindsight, judging the entire situation especially in their body language, there was something very, very fishy and all I did was to chose to remain an observer. 

So many terrible things, even personally in my life, have resulted due to the mere reason that I always seem to choose the more comfortable option, the option that allows me to run away from things and act ignorant when I really am not. Doing nothing can sometimes be akin to doing harm and that's just so, so, horrifying. I am horrifying.

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