I‘m sitting in a hotel lobby in Port Louis, Mauritius, waiting several hours for a ride to the airport to return home, and decided to jot this down.
In what I have seen in and of the world, I have realized Life is stranger than Fiction. Hollywood can regurgitate from now until Hell freezes over, and can only dance around reality. The most interesting and thought provoking stories are those born from real life experiences.
The Pretty Lady, (my wife) is an incredible Lady. When I first met her, the first thing I noticed about her, is her ingrain gracefulness. The way she sits with her toes on point, the way she walks barefoot, her simple hand gestures; and when I found out this pretty woman had over 20 years of Classical Ballet, it all made sense.
Now, enter el Toro.
An expression we use often in Ethiopia to explain the bizarre is simply, This is Africa.
Sunday afternoon, I had to fly out to Mauritius, down off the coast of Madagascar, just off South Africa. I’ve been several times and was not looking forward to the long cramped flights. All baggage was loaded into the Embassy vehicle to take me to the airport. Terese and I were saying our goodbyes and Dasvidaniyas, when the driver slid the driveway gate open.
We often see livestock being moved along in the street, usually by someone who knows how to deftly use a stick. Out in the roadway, walking like a thug looking for a fight, was a bull with a bad attitude. What I am about to describe is an encounter with the bull from entrance to exit, that lasted maybe 4 seconds. It doesn’t take a bull much time to do its thing and move on.
The driver said, Maybe we close gate?
Terese said, No, we don’t need to. I thought the same. The bull is probably out for a Sunday walk, like any other thug on the street.
The bull was about 15 feet from the gate and as soon as he saw us, he dropped his head and charged. Terese was standing in the space between the vehicle and the gate, where the bull saw daylight behind her. For several hours afterwards, I kept thinking I should have pushed her away, but I had to realize, there was absolutely no time to do anything. Not even speak.
Terese went over his head and landed hard on the pavement. It happened so fast, I cannot fully replay it in my mind, but I instinctively dropped down to her to see how bad she was hurt, totally unaware the bull was still in our front yard, a small space the size of our kitchen and will not be staying for dinner. Maybe I subconsciously thought the bull was just going to stand there and marvel at the aftermath of his entrance.
No. In the second I was down with Terese, the bull jumped over us and was gone. I shoved the gate closed to avoid an encore performance. (I later realized, I closed the gate so hard, I bent part of it)
Terese being a medic, knew not to just jump up and go kick his ass. I helped her slowly get up as she assessed herself. She had a small cut on her eyebrow which bled like a stuck pig and a skinned knee. She also had a foot that will be the main injury. The bull evidently stepped on her foot during their short dance sequence. How her foot was stepped on as she went over his horns, I still cannot play it out correctly in my mind. But a later assessment will reveal a badly torn ankle and broken toe.
In the house, she assured me she will be okay and convinced me to leave for the airport. She even went back out on the porch to see the driver who was badly shaken up over the incident. I got into the vehicle with the driver and on the way to the airport, he kept thanking Jesus she was not hurt more. (I later found out, he was thrown against the vehicle and had some aches and pains also.) As I sat in the seat, it was then I realized the fact the bull jumped over me and Terese while we were down, without hitting either of us with a hoof or stepping on us. A blow to my head with the hoof of a bull would have killed me. To have the bull step on us would have ended with death or paralysis. Yeah, I think the driver was right. I thanked the Good Lord myself.
Once I got through Security at the airport, I called the Duty Officer at the Embassy to report it. This is an individual who is on call 24 hours to assist with problems like this. I had to start by saying, You’re not gonna believe this …
The Duty Officer in turn called the Embassy Medic and had her call Terese that evening to check on her. I placed a request for Motorpool to pick her up for work so she wouldn’t have to drive. The next morning, she hobbled to her office and was asked, So, you were run over by a bulldog? Terese said, No. A bull! They said, A bull as in cow bull? Yes, cow bull.
They sent her to the Medical Unit, where they basically said, Yep, torn ankle and toe broken, and here’s some pain pills; now go back home and do not come back for a week.
Over the next few days, Terese learned the bull had gotten out several times before and has hurt at least 12 other people, including two officers. Several of them were in the hospital with severe injuries. He also attacked two taxis, but we don’t care about that. The last report, both bull and owner have been caught and locked up. Hopefully in the same cell.
The woman has been down many times with injuries from all directions. Been though childbirth several times, been in three roll-overs, had cat scratch fever, had the H1N1, endured two husbands and many crazy in-laws. And perhaps many things I don’t know about. Terese is a tough woman, but the bull was tougher.
But I cannot leave this without saying, that bull had some massive testicles and I was a bit jealous.
Okay. Enough of that. For those with two good feet, kick butt and don’t stop. D.