It happened in the middle of the summer on a weekday in the early morning hours. I can’t recall what I was wearing that day except for the sisal bag and the straw hat. The hat was new. The bag was slightly used -- a lucky find from a nearby thrift store.
When he finally passed me, he took a sharp turn and grabbed my bag by the straps. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I just acted on instinct. Since sisal doesn’t slip easily, I also could get a good grip on the straps. We now were face-to-face pulling the bag full-force.
He was steady on his legs but slow as if hesitating over his next move. I felt his strength gradually increase as he tried to overpower me. It made me realize that I was no match to him. My bag was still in one piece; with all the opposing forces exerted on it, the sisal wouldn’t break. At that point, I thought I should let him have it.
There was a construction site nearby and the workers heard the commotion. They couldn’t have seen what was going on and they decided to find it out. As they got closer, the man eased his pull and let go of the bag. Then he took a few steps to walk away as if nothing happened. Just around that time, the guys from the construction site reached the scene. Once they made sure that no one was harmed, they headed back to work. The experience left me shaken and in disbelief. I was too upset to say anything.
Due to the pulling contest, the slots through which the straps were attached to the bag seemed to be a bit wider now. Other than that, there was no visible damage on the sisal.