What are you looking for?
An Apology To The Stranger That Will Never Forget My Face
3 months ago · · apology,
I was 12 years old, when I rode that jeepney. I didn't know nor try noticing anyone there except my friend who I was talking excitedly to. I was really young, and that morning was like every other day until it didn't.
When I first entered that jeepney, I hurriedly went to the driver to pay and then cut off a person who was trying to seat next to my friend. The person sat next to me instead, I didn't see their face, they were covering it with a jacket. He looked like he fell asleep which was normal, so I shrugged it off and chatted away. Who knew he was actually awake.
I was talking with my friend with much enthusiasm, it's funny because I can't even remember the topic. Then I had an urge to look down... I saw a hand on my chest. I froze and I didn't even notice I held my breath. I thought "huh, what? what's happening?", my thoughts went wild. No ever taught me what to do in this situation. I would've spoken out, but my voice wouldn't cooperate. I looked over to my friend with my face of bewilderment and terror. I don't remember what I said or what I did towards my friend. Though I do remember what I did to you, the person in front of me, the stranger who didn't know what was happening.
My face already told everything, but I still mouthed the words "I'm being harassed" to you, very slowly. I was close to tears. I don't know how old you were stranger, but I think you understood me. You were in high school or maybe even college. The sad thing is that you were a girl, and this situation was something I knew you couldn't help with because the perpetrator was a man. But who could I trust. I don't blame you for being a bystander. Nobody really taught us what to do in this situation.
When I looked down again, the hand was gone. I wanted to believe it didn't happen, but I already knew it did. I remembered your face stranger. I remember that your face looked so horrible for me and how much guilt was plastered on it because you didn't assist me. I understand and I don't blame you.
This kind of moment, your receiving end is so horrible. Knowing you could have done something but didn't, it eats you inside. I want to apologize for this moment. I want to apologize if you're still thinking about this. When I saw a question that asked, whose face you would remember the most, I thought of you stranger. Your face it told so many emotions. I knew you wouldn't be able to forget this. I don't want you to beat yourself up for it. I apologize for giving you a situation you probably won't forget.
I don't remember if he left first or if me and my friend did. I just froze, I let it happen, and he didn't get justice. It still affects me to this day. It affects my habits on every jeepney ride. So, whenever I hold my bag, I keep my arms to my sides. So that no one will be able to harass me again. It always felt like I was holding up my arms for a boxing fight. I guess it was a fight or defense against that memory, to make sure it doesn't happen again.
I don't remember how I was riding jeepneys before that time, I wish I could remember. I wish I could ride without worries, with childlike innocence. When I think about how it could affect you stranger, I feel guilty that your experience in riding jeepneys, like me, would have changed too. A butterfly effect, a moment, I wish I didn't give you to remember. I'm sorry.