by Irving Pineda
is the first image that comes to my mother's mind as she sees the men from the University-sponsored Police group mount the bus. Civil unrest among Mexico’s youth had been met with uncivilized violence against said youth, as students everywhere continued to demand an end to corruption within higher education. They have their eyes locked on her now and their weapons on hand. They've been told she's an instigator, the voice of the student rebellion. They size her up and decide to proceed with caution. Such a verbose and passionate opponent of the establishment must have a keen instinct for self-protection. The bus jerks forward.
My mother’s fellow student rebels are nowhere near her station. All she has with her is her pride, and the knowledge that these so-called university-sponsored police are no more than drunken vigilantes with a taste for virginal college coeds.
Fight or flight
Clearly outnumbered and cornered in the back of the bus, my mother decides that flight will have to do. She attempts to open the emergency window to her left, to no avail. “This bus is a death trap on wheels,” she thinks to herself as she giggles nervously, cold sweat running down her spine. The roof, there is an emergency exit latch. Can she make it? There is a family sitting on the seat directly below that exit route. Since time is of the essence, she decides to forgo the formality of asking the old woman and her presumed husband to move. She carefully nudges her right foot between the bewildered couple and vigorously works the exit's latch.
She summons the strength and courage given to her by her father, mother, and her strong will to not be victimized as she hoists herself up into the heavens. The bus slows to a crawl. It is unwise to take on the twists and turns of the mountains in Acapulco with a mad woman riding on the rooftop.
A broken leg, for the preservation of her virtue? With only seconds to strengthen her resolve, she leaps into the abyss.