It didn't happen to me, you know. I have no reason to be reacting like the injured party, hyperventilating on the floor of the shower, and pulled over on the side of the road with my hazard lights flashing in the pouring rain choking into a sandy beach towel. I am sure my manager's nightmares are far more vivid. I have no reason to be sitting here awake for 36 hours, unable to close my eyes because I am afraid of the memories that are playing on repeat in my mind, dozing off for a few moments only to sit straight up with an enormous gasp, as though I was coming from the deepest depths to the surface for air. Nothing happened to me. Not a scratch. I wasn't the one hurt. I was the one who ran and hid and cried and completely lost her shit. I know that. I know it, and I hate it. Because inside, I wanted to climb up on the bar and start breaking bottles over people's heads and pulling guys apart and stopping the whole damn thing from escalating.
At least, I always thought that was what I would do.
But I didn't.
I ducked and froze, was pushed to the side while others jumped in to help. I couldn't think, I couldn't move, I couldn't believe what was happening right before my eyes.
That is what really happened.
That is how I respond, apparently. There was no "fight or flight" response. There was a deer in the headlights moment, and then I ran as fast as my fucking legs could carry me. And the only thing I can say for myself is that at least I didn't run right out the back door and keep on running, with my fingers stuck in my ears to block out the horrifying sounds as they faded away behind me.
I am not the person that I thought I was.
And this is not about me, anyway.
My manager is as well as can be expected. Thank you all for your messages, and the prayers and good thoughts and love that you sent out to him. He is a good man, and it was a terrible thing that happened.
May it never, ever happen again.
This Thanksgiving weekend, we have even more to be thankful for.
I am going to climb into bed with a heating pad and my husband, and take a few deep breaths, and let it go.
I am thankful. I am thankful. I am thankful.
12 hours ago