Shalini drummed her fingers against the steering wheel, stuck in an unending traffic jam. She needed to be at the Pride March to submit a concise report of the event, which she personally found a waste of time.
The honking behind her was giving her a headache.
“Go fly, Superman!” she yelled, casting a glance behind.
The driver behind had orange hair and he was gesturing to her. She refused to look at him again for she had never been particularly comfortable with gay people.
The vehicles crawled on. The street was packed with people dressed in their Sunday best – bright outfits, shiny trinkets, eye-catching hairdos and a general attitude of elation. Spirits were high as many waved flags depicting rainbows. This was their moment – the congregation of people who identified themselves as part of the LGBTQ community.
When she finally parked her car and moved on with her camera, she was carried along with the bustling crowd, a giant wave that almost swept her off her feet. She did feel like a piece of driftwood, being moved along without lifting a finger, or a foot on her own.
Finally, she found a niche by the side, and she deftly set her equipment up to begin reporting, aware of eyes on her as the participants smiled, waved and whistled at her, quite happy to be on camera.
Halfway through her report, there was an explosion, akin to a small country bomb being set off. She ducked instinctively, as fumes of smoke rose into the sky. She could hear a few screams, and she backed off, training her camera where she could see a person writhing on the ground.
The next explosion sounded even closer. She crouched, trying to speak over the noise. As she looked up, she could see a figure clad in black, hand upraised. To her horror, he seemed to be aiming something at her. She closed her eyes, petrified that it was another bomb. Suddenly, another figure appeared, shielding her as she cowered, warding away the object that had been thrown at her. Another small explosion and the figure sank down beside her.
Shalini sprang up. The orange-headed man she had seen earlier lay groaning, his hand covered with blood.
“Can you walk? I will drive you to the hospital,” she whispered.
The man nodded, but he was obviously in pain. Summoning all her strength, she helped him as she kept whispering, “Please hold on.”
At the hospital, she waited while his hand was dressed. His partner, a man in a shiny silver suit, came to her, eyes awash with tears.
“Thank you, Ma’am, for what you did!”
The orange haired man walked towards them. She stood up, voice breaking, “Thank you. You saved my life.”
He smiled, hugging her with one arm. As she hugged him back, her tears broke through, clearing years of discrimination and preconceived notions that had been engrained in her mind.
She would write the best report ever!
Connect with Penmancy:
Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!