I don't remember what I said exactly in my panicked state. What my mother understood was that this stranger, this grown man, came into our garden, took some oranges from our tree and bullied me into staying silent because I was a 5 year old girl who had the nerves of a mouse. I did not refute this because she was right about one thing, I was truly as frightened as a mouse.
I wanted to say something, believe me I did but I just couldn't. By the time I gathered my courage, my mother has already gotten herself into an indignant rage. She marched over to the man's house, through our interlinked backyards, pulling me along as evidence, and knocked on their backdoor sharply. She stood up taller and frowned as she waited for a response and I stood besides her, numb and horror stricken.
After what felt like a million years, a grumpy lady in her pyjamas (presumably the man's wife) opened the door and looked us up and down, judging us, intruders to her home. She stood silently, as my mother started her rant, interjecting ever so often to refute something my mother said as she accused the woman’s husband of every crime under the sun. This misunderstanding was definitely not my mother's fault, how could it be? I respect her. She was a brave woman who believed that she was protecting her child and did what she had to do to get her message across despite only being able to argue in her broken english.
Eventually, perhaps worn down by my mother's persistence or just irritated by our presence, the lady called the man out, and scolded him in front of us as if he was a child. He didn't manage to say a full sentence the whole time the lady was abusing him, until he stopped trying to interject and just hung his head like a student being lectured by his teacher. In the end, he had to get all the oranges I gave him and gave them back to us whilst being warned to never go on our property again.
He was a kind man. He got me the birds nest I wanted, risking falling off the tree without hoping for anything in return and what does he get? Misunderstanding he could not refute, he could only take it and could not defend himself against all the accusations.
The worst part is, the absolute worst was that the man had a mental disability. I don't know what it was but he could not do anything except hang his head and listen to his wife put him down with words without being able to explain his side of the story.
Why must things have played out like this? I don't know where that birds nest that I placed such high value on is now, I don't know where that man I need to apologise to is now, I don't know why I couldn't say something or do something.
The ending of this story is a sand one. The man didn't get to keep the oranges, and mother was not any happier with the oranges back in her possession.
The moral of the story? I guess it's just to speak up for what's right. Don't be a coward because that's easier because what you did or didn't do will truly haunt you for the rest of your life.
To the man I have wronged, I am truly sorry and if I could turn back time, things would definitely have played out differently.