After the initial family drama
melt down the first night I had returned to work, things seemed to go a little more smoothly. Everyone tried to understand that me returning to work and leaving them to do more things on their own was less about hurting them and more about making myself happy. It was not very hard to see that working with Mark made me happy. I was finally happier than I had been in quite some time, and it was very noticeable.
The four of us had gotten into a new rhythm where everyone helped out somewhere to make things easier for me. I even discovered a new passion after getting my groove back. I may not have been superheroing much these days, but I did start taking defense classes. I just couldn’t seem to kick the niggling voice in my head telling me to learn to take care of myself. If I had learned nothing from my short time as an unsuccessful vigilante is that you could only trust to be safe if you were ready for anything.
For a month, I would get up at five, go to class, return home to get everyone ready and off to school or work, including myself. It was a normal schedule, and I finally felt invigorated again. Jack was loving this renewed side of me. We have reconnected as a unit in not only the family front but after hours as well. It felt wonderful. Everything at the job was going without a hitch, and Mark and his bosses are extremely happy with my quick progress. There was even talk about making my position permanent.
The job may not have been the reason I needed to be happy, but it gave me a purpose. I felt like I was doing something for myself and for the greater good at the same time. Searching for meaning in your own identity is sometimes too difficult to establish without help. I really could not have asked for more.
Saturday morning, the girls and I decided to have a day to ourselves. My income was well above our needs, so I was treating them to a little shopping and day at the spa. Lottie even seemed to be ignoring her almost-teenager tendencies because she was laughing and playing with Abigail. We had made an entire day of it. It was beginning to turn dark as we left the last store. Knowing Jack would never feed himself when it was just him, I suggested we pick-up dinner and take it home with us. With no complaints from them, we headed toward the restaurant at the end of the block still carrying all of our bags from the day’s shopping. Although the girls had given most of them to me to hold at this point.
A white van pulled up right in front of the restaurant situated on the corner at the end of the block only a few feet away from where we were. All of a sudden the van door slid open and two men in black hoodies jumped in front of us. Their faces were shaded from us by their hoods and the sunglasses encompassing most of their face. That is when I noticed the gleaming blades in their hand.
I pulled in front of Lottie and Abigail guarding them from the two men. “Girls run! Now!” I scream. Luckily Lottie understood the importance of the words and could tell the danger from my stance. She grabbed Abigail, the two of them leaving behind the few belongings they had been holding. I mentally thanked Lottie for being such a great big sister when one of the men started to take off after my girls.
“I don’t think so,” I exclaimed using the multiple bags I was carrying as a weapon spinning my arm toward him using its momentum to launch the bags into his body. I caught him off guard because he became unbalanced, falling back hitting his head on the sidewalk. I had knocked him unconscious in one shot, but I knew I had been lucky. These guys didn’t expect any pushback from three girls. The second guy wouldn’t be as easy. His stance changed immediately and I saw the grip on the knife grow tighter.
I dropped the remaining bags in my other hand to avoid being off-balance when the second guy finally attacked me. Opening my stance, I readied for an attack. I may have been taking defense classes, but I had never had to fight someone with a weapon on me. I was scared, but my girls were counting on me, and I wouldn’t let them down. I could only hope they would call for help when they got somewhere safe.
As suspected, the second guy didn’t waste any time coming at me, trying to catch me as off-guard as possible. Only moments after I had dropped the bags, he lunged at me. His shiny knife leading the way. Instinct kicked in and I dodged to the left barely missing the knife’s purpose of wounding me. Quickly I darted around turning 90 degrees to face his back kicking him forward in the process. Trying to keep him as far away from me as possible especially since he still grasped the knife.
I quickly accessed my options running through any weapon options of my own I may have. I left all my gadgets that I used when I had been a superhero at home figuring I would be safe during normal hours. My discarded bags were now out of reach, and I couldn’t locate the weapon the man on the ground had wielded earlier. Then I remembered my scarf. Knowing it was not much of a weapon, it was my only chance. I would just have to stay on the defensive until he was disarmed or help arrived. Hopefully before I was unable to defend myself anymore.
The second man finally finding his footing, lunged toward me again. This time the knife connected with the scarf while I swung his arm in a circle making him turn to follow the momentum of the joint in his shoulder. I had his arm in a lock between his shoulder blades with the knife wrapped in my scarf. A moment of disbelief wound through my body. That had actually worked.
The man was not easily deterred by my ambition and slight knowledge of defending myself. He slammed his head back connecting right with my nose. I stumbled backwards unable to get my balance. I feel to my knees. The blow so painful I raised my hand to my face and when I pulled it back I saw the blood gushing between my fingers. My vision was blurry combined with the darkness that had settled around us, I was having a hard time finding my opponent. All of a sudden I heard footsteps quickly approaching. I looked up and made out his shape running toward me, but this time I could no longer see the glint of the knife. Hoping it had gotten dropped in the commotion, I decided it was time to take a chance and fight back. From my position below him, I pulled my right hand into a fist swinging up connecting with his chin right before he was able to bring me all the way down to the ground.
The blows no longer coming as a surprise, the man quickly recovered and readied for the next attack. Finally face to face, we were both ready to fight. Me due to necessity and him because of his new found anger towards me. Both of us were fighting due to our adrenaline, meaning we both could do something dangerous and unpredictable.
As my vision slowly returned, I could see the man slowly smile. Unsure of the meaning of the smile, I readied myself for his attack. If I hadn’t heard the footsteps moments before, it would have been the end of the battle for me, instead I was able to duck missing the new man’s kick meant for my upper body. Again I had gotten lucky, but now the odds were against me. Both men were angled toward me and I had failed to injure either one. What am I going to do now?
The sweet sound of sirens in the distance was my saving grace. I only needed to hold them off for a few moments longer, and I would no longer be alone. I wasn’t the only ones that heard the sirens though, and even though I had made these men angry by successfully fighting back, their self-preservation instincts kicked in. Suddenly they were reaching for the third man still on the ground from earlier, readying to escape back into the van and rushing off before my help arrived.
I couldn’t let them get away. Not after they threatened my family. Once again I reached for a bag, but this time it was my handbag. With its long strap, I swung it at the first man’s head stopping his advance toward the man on the ground. I quickly swung around following up with a swift and quite powerful kick to the head. This time the man flew to his knees unable to stay upright. The third man seeing that his time to escape was growing thin, turned to leave both the others behind heading toward the van to save himself. I swung the strap like a lasso toward the man’s back wrapping around his neck. The man clawed at the leather, still trying to escape while I pulled twisting as I got closer. As soon as I was right behind the man, I fisted my right hand leaving the left to hold the make-shift rope in place. With as much power as I could muster up, I punched the man in the kidney which also made this man fall to the ground like his counterparts.
As the police cars pulled up surrounding the van leaving the men no quick way of escape, all three men were on the ground in differing degrees of pain. The police exited their vehicle calling on everyone to freeze and put their hands up. The man I still had my handbag wrapped around finally passed out on the ground from lack of oxygen while the first man that had knocked his head on the concrete still remained lifeless, unconscious on the ground. I released the bag and raised my hands letting them see that I was not armed and not the true threat, and just to prove to them that I was not the bad guy, the only man not unconscious finally regained his faculties and bolted to his feet running as quickly as he could toward the alley. One of the officers easily took a shot wounding his feet bringing the man down for good. It was over, and somehow I had survived.
I could only imagine how strange it looked to the onlookers. A petite woman, blood all over her face, the only one left standing. Three men all on the ground somewhere near her feet. With that image in my mind, I was able to push the pain away for a moment, and I found myself smiling. It seems that I am capable of quite a lot when I put my mind to something. I have never been more proud of myself than in that exact moment on my knees, hands interlaced behind my head. What a dramatic change.