Friday, February 22, 2013

Dark of the Night

The first thing I notice are the vibrations; doors slamming, voices reverberating off of walls, cars starting in the parking lot, feet running on the sidewalk. Then, upon waking, things start to become more clear, and the twinge of unease comes again. I don't want to turn on the lights, I just sit up and listen. The voices are more audible, screams, cries. "Help, he's hurting me! Please!" Urgent, demanding, and full of panic.

I wait, trembling now and heart starting to race, waiting to hear that fatal sound that seems inevitable. The crack in the night of lead and powder, or the clank of steel as it hits the concrete. Now other neighbors are awake and they must sense it too, doors are opening wide, people spill out into the night more screams outside. Responding - angry and questioning.

"Asshole, are you hurting her?!"
"Back off!"

But always and again, "Please help me!" comes above it all. Frantic.

For the third time this month I have reached for my phone in the dark of the night. And it is always the same, I press three, clear numbers into life, I report what I heard, I respond that 'yes, I can be contacted again'.

After, I will my eyes closed and try to block out the lingering vibrations. Angry voices, but ones that are muffled now. Doors still slam but not as many as before. There are no longer people running outside. And by the time my heartbeat slows and returns to normal I can hear the familiar siren and tires pulling into the drive.

And I curse my sense of self-preservation. I hate myself that I have become afraid. I hate that my secondary reaction to these things is to feel helpless, when truthfully, I am the one that must fight the urge to not break the night with bullets - all to fight away the perceptible Bad. I am angry that there is fear. I am angry that I cannot reasonably do more.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I pray that someday we will be strong enough.