A serious post for a change. A quarter of a century ago I was seven, and along with the normal events everyone would expect a seven year old to live through, I also had to experience something a bit different. In todays politically correct times I expect it would be called a life changing event, but I think of it in simpler terms; Somebody tried to kill me.
The physical after effects left me with a severely broken arm, a small loss of movement, and regular trips to the hospital for the next ten years or so. Psychologically it has had an impact that has had an effect on every day of my life since then, to the extent that the after effects have been with me for so long now that they have “always” been a part of me.
This post isn’t about what happened, nor is it about the effect that it has had on me. These things are, and have been personal for a long time and I don’t think that the public domain is somewhere the details need to be. Maybe as even more years pass this will change, but for now this is how I am.
This post is more about realisation. Over the years I have had many thoughts about my attacker, but always in a distant and hazy sense. I heard rumours, second hand stories of events, but even they petered out with time. In fact his name hasn’t been visible in my world outside of my head for about ten years or more. Then last week I saw it, and a photograph on a social network site I use. Even more interesting his name was in the ‘friends’ list of one of my friends back in England.
It was a shock, I wondered what I should do. Should I contact my friend and fish for more details? Approach the guy directly via the networking tool? What did I expect, what did I want from this encounter? Then it struck me…
There is nothing that can be said or done that will change what happened. I’m not looking for compensation, nor do I want an apology as this man’s apology would mean nothing to me. No act of revenge, no act of forgiveness, nothing would alter the events that happened and the effect they had on me. No matter what occurred my life was made this way by the events of a quarter century ago, and no amount of therapy, counseling, guidance, or avoidance will change that fact.
No matter what happens, I can’t change what happened. I can and have learned to live with the consequences of the assault. However, I will never be able to go back and remove those consequences from my life. The fear, the panic attacks, the depression, these are things I can come to terms with, but I can’t remove them from this last quarter century. All I can do is get up and move on, and this realisation was has been with me for some time even if visiting it again was a shock.
Then I thought a little more, and realised that of the two of us, my assailant and I, I am probably the only one who remembers that day. I am the only one who recalls the fear and the pain, and I alone will be carrying that knowledge today and tomorrow and the next day. That was a hard thought to have, that I probably barely score a flash of a memory in this guy’s mind. Only one of us had our life altered, and it was me.