there he was. he was dead, or so i’d been told, but there he was. he was alive, on my television, talking about christmas lites. i wasn’t expecting it. i hoped that it wasn’t real. but there he was….alive and talking about christmas lites. he was here, where i lived, 20 years and 650 miles from when i knew him. and there i was, curled up with my son to watch a local holiday special and fully unprepared….because there he was.
there i was. one year out of college and out of the oblivion that is nowhere, a call from an old college friend. he had some news and had tracked me down. while in chicago he had heard of a murder. gang-style, with the victim pleading for his life. a horrible, violent death. but my friend thought that i should know. it was so confusing to feel both hatred and pity for the man who died. but there i was, feeling it all, and wishing that i didn’t feel anything.
there i was, freshman year in college and i needed a book for my acting class. i needed to take it with me to study it over christmas break. there i was, at two in the afternoon in his dorm room while he looked for the book. there i was, oblivious as to why he turned on the stereo and cranked up the volume of “les miserables”. there i was, too slow when he locked the dead bolt. there i was, thrown backward across the room and onto the bed. there i was, half-naked and begging for him to stop. there i was screaming until he finally let me up. there i was, standing in the skin-scalding temperature of the shower, and there would never be enough soap. there i was, hiding my clothes in the dumpster and praying that no one would find them.
there i was, over the years, thinking back at what i should have done differently. should i have just not borrowed the book? should i have realized why the music was so loud? should i have been quicker at the door? should i have fought harder on the bed? no. the answer is always no.
here i am, 20 years later with only one regret….i should have gone to the police.