Help! I’m being kidnapped!
“God, where are you?” I screamed. But there was no sound coming out of my mouth? Is this really happening? It wasn’t supposed to happen; at least not to me. As far as I could remember this sort of thing happened only in the movies.
The car carrying me was a white Maruti Esteem – a fairly new model. But how did I come to be in it? No one in my family would have ever dreamt that I would be traveling at full speed to an unknown beach destination.
A warm summery afternoon greeted me as I stepped out of St. Andrew’s church after my final convocation class. I was excited. Next Sunday I would be dressed in white and with ten others partake of my first communion. I had long been fascinated by the ancient ritual where the priest lifted and blessed the bread and wine. Next Sunday, would be life changing, as far as I was concerned.
Little did I know that when I stepped out of the tall, ornate gates of the church, I would be asked to step into a car by a college friend.
She was a rich, pampered and flighty girl who was in college, presumably for an education. However, it was evident to all, except to me perhaps, that she might have proved difficult at home. I fell to listening to her strange but fascinating stories describing her wealth and her brush with film directors. I began accompanying her to shops and food courts.
I only hesitated a second to ask her who the strange couple in the car was and when she replied that they were friends who wanted to drop us to our hostel, I readily got in.
In a flash, it seemed to me, we were speeding away. The couple in front was chatting happily, occasionally touching each other fondly. When I repeated my question she casually mentioned that they were people she had just met outside the college. I was shocked when I realized that she barely knew them. My anger was hidden by my anxiety and then fear, as I realized that the car had gone way past city limits.
‘Where are we going?’… I badgered my friend feverishly but would get - ‘just relax’ – for a response. However, I noticed that after a while of travel she appeared a bit tense.
In what seemed like days, but in fact was an hour, we reached a plush beach hotel. Once there, the couple led us to the poolside. My friend forgot her apprehensions, got changed and went into the water. By now I was so fearful, I did not notice the fact that my friend had come well prepared to swim. The strange lady sat beside me and asked questions, trying to get me to relax but would often follow my gaze to the pool where the man was trying to fondle my friend in the water.
Minutes ticked by like days. My brain kept reminding me of my distance from home and familiarity. My family had raised me up as a good Christian. But what was I doing here in a remote beach hotel with total strangers. Images of rape and murder rushed into my head and all I could do was shake my head when asked if I knew how to swim.
Finally, my friend came out and we were escorted back to the car. I managed to get her alone for a few minutes and berated her for dragging me into what seemed like her senseless venture. It was as if a huge rock was lifting off me when my friend insisted on returning.
The couple dropped us a few meters short of the college gates. The next day, my friend came to me sheepishly and said had she known that these were local pimps she would not have taken that ride. I was furious, to say the least and said that from that day I would have nothing to do with her.
Sitting sedately in church the next Sunday, I recalled with horror how close I had been to danger. And yet, I was convinced that God had sent His angels with me. As I took the sweet sip of wine I thanked Him for being my protector. For me, the simple ritual of breaking bread would always have a special significance that no one, except He would understand.
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