She told it so easily, calmly, no surprise.
I avoided her eyes.
“We were on a full pesera (mini bus) two men got on.
They had pistols, put one to the driver’s head.
We were told to empty our purses.
No men on the pesera, just women and children, full.
They took all the money that fell out,
And they felt inside the women’s clothes, all over their bodies for money, cell phones, too.
I lost $50 cash, a birthday present, and $200 my daughter had sent for me to pay her dentist.”
“No one called the police?”
“Hah! The police are usually the robbers.”
I kept avoiding her eyes.
When I hear these Mexican, usually urban, horrors I feel guilty, privileged, impotent,
Living so close to such abhorrence, a river between.
Did I want to be on that bus?
Did I want to resist?
Did I want to die there – one bullet to my chest – on the filthy bus floor,
Among the women’s, kids’, robbers’ and driver’s feet?
Crazy, you say.
Think your dying will make those bus rides safer?
…but a bus-floor death would remove me from knowledge of the poison,
Yet, the poison would drip on and on,
My act but a futile second in a veil of fear, and resignation, for millions and millions ….
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid-July 2014