Here’s my story:
Now please don’t judge my actions then,
I’ve never done that deed again,
But I can really be a witch,
When I’m provoked to be a bitch!
Looking back: I consider myself a peaceful woman who abhors violence or physical aggression of any sort. In my growing up years circa 1950, our household was always that of a quiet loving family. And other than whacking my older brother across the back with a broom when I was 8 years old, and knocking the wind out of him – violence was never part of my life.
Fast forward: Now let’s move ahead to a summer day, circa 1990 at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon. The place is quiet, as most downtown market shoppers are early morning people. I have my 15 year-old niece with me. Hubsey is upstairs on a bench holding all the bags filled with cheeses, fresh fruit and fish, chowing down on a market-famous bacon-on-a-bun.
What a deal! Downstairs I find an end-of-day sale on fresh garden vegetables. My niece stands off to the side while I stuff a large plastic grocery bag full of green beans, for the price of $2. I’m delighted with my purchase and reach over the counter to hand my money to the vendor.
Horrors! Just then, I’m jarred, as two hands come from behind and grab both my breasts. I see the filthy fingernails and realize it’s not Hubsey in a moment of unbridled passion. I whip around and look straight into the face of the filthiest looking derelict; his leering grin 2 inches from my face; his rotten teeth the colour of a dirty urinal; his breath like a distillery sewer.
Besmirched: I stand there in shock. He removes his hands from my body and with a disgusting grin on his face, he simply walks away. His clothes hang like rags, and his hair is matted and covers half his face. I glance at my niece a few feet away; her hands are clamped over her mouth; her eyes the size of dinner plates.
Kapow! I take off after him, swinging my bag o’ beans in wide circles like a Spanish bola, gaining momentum as I run. His back is to me so he doesn’t see me coming. He’s about to push the doors open to leave, when I make contact with his head. I bean him smack on his right ear and he howls like a banshee.
Big trouble: He whips around and screams in my face, “Hey! What the hell did you do that for!” (Is he kidding me?) It was then I notice he has a buddy with him. I back up as the two of them clench their fists and start walking toward me, their eyes locked on mine.
Solo act: Now don’t forget, Hubsey is upstairs enjoying his bacon-on-a-bun, oblivious to the rumble in the jungle downstairs, so he’s no help. My niece is still in teenage shock with her feet super-glued to the floor. Thankfully she’s turned to stone and stays put! It’s late afternoon in the market with not many people around. Truthfully, it all happened so fast, I can’t remember to this day if there was anyone who witnessed the assault, except my niece and me. But I digress.
Oh no! As the two thugs get closer, I can’t drop my beans and run, leaving my petrified niece there, so I have to think fast. All I know, is that I’m on my own to defend myself. I’m a small woman with no real physical strength or black belt credentials, so all I can hope for is insanity.
Release the hounds! So I stand my ground and face them dead on, legs apart in an aggressive stance while I scream obscenities and wave my fists in the air. (Like the way you do to make yourself bigger to scare away wild animals in the woods.) I go totally berserk and don’t budge an inch from my spot. My face is red-hot and I’m spitting saliva as I spew forth my venom, calling them all the vile words I can muster.
Eureka! Well, I’m happy to say it worked and the two thugsters look at each other, turn on their heels and leave the building…muttering something about a crazy bitch.
My violent past: I am not a violent person and I have never in my life hit another human being…other than my brother-of-the-broom incident of course…and oh yes, the time I punched my boss in the stomach. But that’s a story for another day.
A black place: The experience at the market rattled me for weeks. It wasn’t just the physical assault on me that kept me awake nights, although that was bad enough. It was my blind-rage reaction that scared the green beans out of me; a sheer black rage that brought forth that scary witch who came screaming out of my body to seek vengeance for what he had done to me. No woman should ever tolerate sexual assault in any form. And more women should bring forth their inner scary witch, or their own personal bag o’ beans weapon when it happens.
Buried deep: I don’t know from whither she came and thankfully, I’ve had no need of her services since then. Something tells me she would resurface if my daughter or granddaughter were in jeopardy. But she’s one scary broad and it’s no wonder that those two losers thought better of taking her on. Although in retrospect, I think they were supremely hung over and just wanted the screaming to stop and the drinking to begin.
Pressure cookers: I guess we all have a bit of that black rage simmering quietly below the surface. Some control it better than others. Some don’t control it all. And some get sick from holding it all in, in an effort to keep the lid from slipping off. There’s a fine line here as individual as each one of us.
Final word: My green bean story has gone viral in my family over the years and as I recently started writing my memoirs, it was time to write it down. We all have pieces of ourselves we will never get to know. Sometimes, those pieces are better left alone. As for me, I was frightened by my aggressive actions, but sometimes it takes a bag o’ beans in the ear to show them you mean business.
So that’s my tale, it’s sad but true,
He groped my boobs, what could I do?
I whacked that deadbeat in the head!
He should have grabbed my beans instead.
See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene
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