"Get up, boy!"
His thoughts interrupted. Chilled by the coldness of the remark, he lifted his head. A man was staring down at him, his gaze as cold as his words. Perplexed, he looked around the half empty bus, not sure he was the intended recipient.
"Get up, boy!" The harshness increased, with added tones of impatience and authority that seemingly demanded total obedience.
The man standing next to him was around forty, without any hints of a disability, and did not seem the kind that required assistance of any sorts. Unreasonable, he thought and returned the gaze of the man in defiance.
He had never backed down from such adversity, not at school, not at work. He was well brought up to ably defend what’s his, and respect what not. But, as strangely as how he felt when he stepped on the bus, and in spite of the firmness within him, his body left his seat; even though his mind was still hesitating on his next reaction.
His choice of action puzzled him, as much as the unfamiliarity that he had been feeling since he got on the bus. The scenery along the bus route seemed familiar enough, but the people on the bus just seemed oddly out of place. He was trying to untangle the awkwardness within him before he was so rudely interrupted.
Still not sure why he gave up his seat, he spotted another vacant seat at the back of the bus and walked towards it. Though nobody turned and looked at him, he could feel the collective disgust directed towards him. A sense of humiliation sipped into him, right before his anger towards the treatment received and the ensuing indifference. As he sat, a lump was forming in his throat.
"Get up, boy!" Another man's voice pierced into his thoughts again.
Slap on the face, twice.
Faster than a lightning, the anger that was felt and suppressed before, struck down all other emotions within him. Rising from his guts, the anger turned into rage. Trembling, he could feel the hairs on his face stood up roaring and his pupils widened. Tightening his fists, he was going to stand up and confronted the man's with his fists. Just as he was going to transform the uncontrollable rage into a furious frenzy, a voice rang inside his head. Not his. The voice commanded respect and echoed with wisdom. He couldn't make out what the voice was saying. It was firm but not aggressive, mild but uncompromising. He was listening. As the voice faded away, calmness returned. Rage reined in.
He remained seated, looking straight into the contemptuous faces of all on the bus. Pride, propped him up.
Cheers suddenly erupted. It did not come from the passengers at the front, who remained motionless, and was beginning to fade into a sea of whiteness.Amid his blurred vision, he rubs his eyes, sees a character in the television in front giving a passionate speech, "... where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."
As he turned his attention to the speaker and his speech, his thoughts still wander to the strange dream he had when he dozed off.