I just couldn’t stand it any longer.
I’ve been eyeing this guy who stays near my apartment for the longest time. He’s one of those messed-up guys: Early twenties, young wife/girlfriend and two kids, tattoos all over his arms and legs.
It isn’t just the look of him I couldn’t stand. I’m not the sort who’d pass judgement that fast. It began with his loud music that went on throughout the day and sometimes into the night. Another thing he always did was the wheel-spin thing whenever he drove his battered truck out of the parking lot. On weekends his group of friends would make the loudest drunken din. That’s not even what pissed me off.
Over the past few months I’ve noticed him taking his kids out. Two young boys, both blond and blue-eyed. Even from a distance I noticed his favourtism. It wasn’t hard to tell when he kept slapping the older of the two upside on the head for no apparent reason. They’d be walking side by side, and WHAP, he’d just strike the kid on the head. The younger one was never (as far as I’ve noticed) the recipient of such treatment. Truth is, I’ve even seen him buy the younger one an ice-cream, and only have the older kid look on.
The teen mother? She’s the petite kind who didn’t look as if she had much of a will left. She’d look on helplessly from the door whenever her punk of a husband took the children out for their “playtime”. She sometimes looked battered, and from what I could see she had been cowered into submission over time.
I’ve called the police several times, and so far they said that they were looking into it. Granted, I’ve seen more police cars patrol my neighbourhood and it’s worked somewhat. I’ll admit it - something about him just irks the heck out of me.
It consumes you, y’know? The more I dwelt about it, the angrier I felt and the more violent my thoughts became. They were just thoughts, until a few days ago.
I couldn’t take it any longer. He walked out of his apartment, beer bottle in hand and with his two sons, one of each side. He was shouting at the older son who was barely seven, hurling expletives. This kid was going to grow up warped, I remember thinking to myself. Then he grabbed the older son by the collar and dragged him back towards the door of the apartment. The boy stumbled and fell, and his knees scraped the rough tarmac of the parking lot. He let out an very loud yelp. His younger brother cried.
The father (it pains me even to call him this) picked him up by his collar again and threw, literally threw, him back into the apartment. He then slammed the door and headed out, leaving the younger son standing in the parking lot, still crying.
I had to do something.
It was easy to tell when Joe (that’s what I heard his wife call him) returned. It was marked by the very loud screeching of brakes and the smell of rubber on tarmac. I wished he stayed out longer than the forty-five minutes he did. I was still very angry and very upset.
My stomach fluttered with the wings of a thousand butterflies. I walked to the kitchen drawer and grasped the handle of a knife. Thank God I decided to put that away, for who could have known what would have been.
I took a deep breath and decided to go confront Joe. I went up to his apartment and knocked at the door. The smell of alcohol, even from behind a closed door, was suffocating.
I knocked again. It was a while before I heard stirring from inside the house. A young woman’s voice could be heard. She was shouting. The cries of a boy played on like a broken record. I don’t know where the other boy was.
The door swung open violently and Joe stood there with a very nasty look in his eye. At this point, I was more concerned than angry, and wanted nothing but to talk some sense into him. But I saw that he held in his hand a junior baseball bat. Shorter than the adult-sized ones, but made of aluminium strong enough to do damage all the same. He grabbed me and told me to “get the f**k off his apartment”. My blood started to boil again.
Then it happened. Like a flash. I can’t even remember the sequence of events very clearly. I just snapped.
I broke his nose and swung his head against the wall. The baseball bat fell impotent on the ground and Joe lay unconscious beside the cheap sofa set that came with the apartment. Blood was splatted on the wall, and flowed down from his head unto the floor. I stood there stunned. In the corner of my eye I saw his wife, holding one son in her arms and the other against her side. I saw the horror in her eyes. There was no trace of gratitude.
The shock of it all slowly ebbed away and I saw what I had done. The wife had already called 911 and the police were on their way. I sat down on my hands, hoping that by hiding them I could somehow obscure the violent truth of my actions and find righteousness in my anger.
I spent the weekend in the lockup. Joe spent his in the hospital. As far as I know, he hasn’t woken up yet.
As I rationalise my actions inside my head I find more questions than answers. I wish someone would tell me that what I did was just, and that it was for the sake of the children, but Joe’s wife and kids are now without a husband and father. At least temporarily. Or permanently. I don’t know.
I don’t know anything anymore. I’m just sorry I didn’t update my blog over the weekend. I had a lot on my mind.
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