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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Saved a Stranger's Life

I've always believed in the phrase 'trusting your instincts'.  I know it may seem silly to some people, but 9 times out of 10 your gut is usually right on the mark.  My mother (my frenemy) has some serious intuition.  It's cool yet very terrifying.  When I was growing up, I couldn't get anything by her.  She would always make this scrunched up face as a way of letting me know that she knew what I was up to.  She's the poster child for following her gut and it's always lead her in the right direction.  I've definitely inherited that trait...

I'd like to believe that listening to my gut has steered me in the right direction in life.  Ive trusted my instincts when it came to quitting my previous job.  I've trusted my instincts when it came to trusting certain people.  I've even trusted my instincts when it came to moving in with my boyfriend...  

Our neighborhood is decent.  Our house is in a gated community which has it's perks.  Our townhouse is at the end of the street on the opposing side of apartment complexes.  Our complex is equipped with private car garages, a swimming pool and a large yard in the back which is great for our dog.   We don't get a lot of traffic coming down our street.  I mean, we occasionally get that one jerk that drives down the street in his beat up Honda like he's from The Fast and The Furious but that's pretty much it.  We hardly have anything insane occurring in our area. 


My boyfriend and I care a lot about our health.  If you were to take a peek into our cabinet, we have no junk food.  I'm not kidding.  We choose to eat healthy and watch our waistlines.  If we're not too tired after our work day, we normally go jogging or walking around the neighborhood.  Since I hate the sunshine and the heat that it brings, we agree that our walks/jogs should occur in the early evening if anything.  (I'm not trying to die.) One evening in October, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood shortly after dinner.  Rounding the corner and onto our block, everything seemed quiet and typical to our everyday evening. 


Over the past few months, I started seeing some familiar faces on our street.  I guess that's just something you start doing when you move somewhere new.  You start picking up on the aesthetic of your neighborhood and the people who live there.  I've recognized certain people that normally walk their dog or hang out on their balconies.  A gentleman in his early 20's was walking down our side of the street.  I had recognized him before.  I had seen him a few times while walking his Great Dane.  This time he was without his dog, but he wasn't alone.  Coming into view, someone who I didn't recognize had pushed him from behind.  In response, he shoved back which had quickly escalated into a mini brawl which had ended almost abruptly.  This 'attacker' who had been shoved to the ground was re-gaining his composure.  I stood there unsure of how to feel or respond.  Feeling protective, my boyfriend stepped in front of me.  We both stood there in silence.


We were invisible to these two individuals.  Somehow we had taken on the appearance of a ghost.  We were unsure of what to do.  In an effort to slowly remove ourselves from them, we stepped off to the side and waited for the two to cross the street.  The attacker started creeping behind him.  I tried to capture a glimpse but had only gotten maybe a blink's worth of what his attacker had looked like.  He was short, Hispanic and wore very baggy clothes.  I had never seen him in our neighborhood.  Once he pulled up his hoodie, his face became shadowed. 

Approaching our gate, I kept stealing glances.  Closing the door behind us, my boyfriend had ushered me to come inside.  But I couldn't.  Each time I turned around to go back inside, I was being blocked by this invisible wall.  Something was telling me to stay.  Normally I wouldn't get involved, but for some odd reason-- I felt nervous for this person.  I felt nervous for a complete stranger.  This large pit began to bundle itself up in my stomach nagging me to stay where I was.  My hands started to feel clammy.  I could hear my heart pounding in my ears.  There was this overwhelming sense of dread and fear building up within me.  My throat began to dry up as if I swallowed a bag's worth of sand.  The hair's on my neck began to stand up.  Something didn't feel right.  Something bad was going to happen. 


Something was telling me not to leave.  Something was telling me to stay.

In an effort to leave his attacker, the tall, blonde haired stranger pushed him to the ground.  But that didn't last long.  The two had escalated into a fist fight across the street.  Our dog walking stranger getting in punches and blocks.  In an effort to stop the altercation, he had pressed his attacker up against a fence and attempted to walk away.  He was trying to make it stop.  He didn't want it to continue.  You could tell by his actions.  He was only defending himself. I couldn't blink.  I kept on watching.  In an attempt to get the last word in, his attacker had began to punch him rapidly in the chest and abdomen.  To my surprise, the stranger didn't strike back.  Staggering back, he clutched his abdomen.  My heart sank.


Flinging the gate open, I sprinted across the street.  My boyfriend followed closely behind.  The first thing that caught my eye was the blood on the pavement.  Kneeling beside him, my boyfriend pulled off his shirt and handed it to me.  This 'familiar' stranger was laying on the ground clutching his wound--gasping for air. 

"He stabbed me.  He stabbed me."  He repeated.


I lifted his fingers slightly so I could see the damage.  Removing his hand, I started applying pressure with my boyfriends shirt.  He kept talking and mentioning what had happened over and over again.  He was in shock but he let me kneel beside him as I listened.  I'm not a medical expert.  But if it's one thing we can all agree on--applying pressure to an open wound is the smartest thing to do until a professional arrives.  I dont know why, but I started to hold his hand.  Maybe I was trying to give comfort.  Maybe it felt right at the time.  Either way, I felt like I needed to. 

911 had been called.  They were on their way.  All we could do was wait.  All I could do was make sure he remained still.  I continued to hold his hand.  I continued to apply pressure.  I continued to let him know that everything was going to be okay.  He was going to be fine (although I was unsure of the outcome).  I'm not sure if it was shock or the utter disbelief that this was happening, but everyone was just standing there with their arms folded--watching.  I felt like I was in a giant fish tank.  Everyone was watching as I knelt there in my pajamas with blood on my hands.  Their faces were pale and plagued with worry.  I kept stealing glances at the end of the street wondering if his attacker would return. I could feel myself sweating.  I had to remain calm.  I couldn't let them see how much I was freaking out on the inside.  I had to be strong for this person.  I had to be strong for this stranger who's life was hanging in the balance...

Kneeling beside him, I watched as the ambulance pulled up.  Their bright lights shining in my eyes.  I felt like a deer in the headlights.  Piling out, the EMT's immediately rushed to his aid.  Police had approached me and started asking questions but I kept watching that stranger.  I watched as they lifted him into the ambulance only to slam the doors shut, and speeding off down the street.  His life was in their hands now...


I had to repeat my story about five times or so.  I had to retrace my steps.  I had to answer questions.  I had to keep my thoughts together.  I had to remain calm even though my anxiety was off the charts.  Everything happened so fast.  I felt like the world was spinning.  The officer would take a break to jot notes down.  Meanwhile my eyes silently darted to the floor capturing glimpses of the tiny pools of blood that were slowly drying..


I couldn't sleep that night.  The following nights were just as hard.  How do you get over something so traumatic like that?  How do you close your eyes and just fall asleep?  Each time I tried to fall asleep, I kept seeing his face.  I kept hearing his voice.  I kept seeing the face of his attacker.  I kept seeing that moment where he got stabbed.  I replayed that moment over and over in my mind.  I felt trapped in that moment.  I felt like it was still happening.  My mind kept replaying the moment where his blood was on my hands.  I kept feeling his trembling hand in mine.  I kept wondering if this man was going to die in front of me.  Combined with all these thoughts, I kept asking myself the same questions...


What if I had just gone inside?  What if I ignored my gut?  Would someone else come to his aid?  Would someone else hold his hand?  Would they help him?  What would have happened?

Maybe I was meant to be there.  Maybe I was meant to hold this strangers hand and help him.  Maybe I was meant to be there to let him know that everything was going to be okay...  


Maybe I was his guardian angel.

I know it seems silly to say that, but it makes so much sense.  I could have left.  I could have turned my back.  But I didn't.  I'm not saying he was meant to be stabbed.  In fact, I don't wish that on anyone.  I'm not saying he was destined to be attacked and hurt.  All I'm saying is that life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you.  You are given a choice.  A choice to either react or retract.


 I was meant to be there.  I was meant to help him.  That's why I couldn't go back inside.  That's why I had this huge pit in my stomach.  It was almost impossible to ignore.  In fact, I couldn't ignore it even if I tried.  My intuition was telling me that I needed to stay where I was because he needed me to be there...

I checked in with the police as soon as I could.  They had thanked us for being there when we were.  I tried to get as much information as I could but since it was now under investigation, I was left with cold responses.  I was told hat he was recovering well.  But he was in a lot of pain.  They even mentioned that he was going to need a lot of rest.  I haven't seen him since.  And his attacker has yet to be found...







I don't know your name.  I don't even know where you live.  And I don't even know if you are okay.  It's been almost a year and I haven't seen you in the neighborhood.  I'm not sure if you aren't around because you're afraid or something worse has happened.  If you're reading this, I hope you don't let this act of violence stop you from living your life.  I hope you're safe.  I hope you're healthy.  I hope this has only made you stronger.




xx
Meg











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1 comment:

  1. This is a powerful story and I completely agree with trusting your instincts. My boyfriend suspects that I must be a witch with my heightened intuition and perception, and maybe I am, but it's definitely saved me and others in certain situations. If you feel there is danger near, chances are your right! And you should always be aware of your surroundings. Meg, i'm so proud to be your friend, you were definitely that young mans savior that day. You were exactly were you needed to be.

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