A Witness to Violence

Daily Prompt: Witness

I’ve seen physical violence in movies. It is not pleasant to watch but at least I know nobody really got hurt.

About three years ago, it was different and it is still haunting me from time to time. I was on a festival with a friend and some of his work colleagues. On the way back home, after a great night out, something happened. A minor incident, really, that led to a devastating experience. We were a group of six people, five guys and me, and we passed by this guy who looked like a beefcake. He was quite drunk and he was pissing (excuse my French here) against the wall of the court building. One of the colleagues of my friend said, jokingly, that he should pull his pants back up, before the ladies called the police. The guy heard the remark and walked toward my friend who had said nothing at all:  “What did you say?” – “Nothing”, my friend replied. – “Well, I think you said something, bitch!” the drunk guy shouted. And, without hesitation, he punched my friend right in the face. His glasses flew off his face and hit the ground a few meters away, broken beyond measure. My friend tripped, and fell into a broken beer bottle that had been in is hands a few seconds earlier. In my head, there was numbness and I could see my friend cutting his hands and his cheek open in slow motion, as he hit the ground. Falling into shards of brown glass, half blind without his glasses. A constant, high pitched beeping in my head. When I came to my senses again, I shouted at this monster: “What the f**k is wrong with you??! You f**king asshole! He didn’t even do anything, you monster!” But the guy had already walked away.

My friend was deeply embarrased because he could not defend himself and he was hurt. I brought him home, washed his hands and put band aids onto his wounds. I tucked him in and left. But I knew he would hurt for a while. His pride was crushed because he felt humiliated. I felt angry. Angry at this guy who hit him in the face just because he felt like it. Angry at my friends’ colleagues because they just stood there and watched. Angry at myself because I couldn’t help. And angry because we couldn’t even report it to the police because we didn’t know the guys’ name and he looked like any other beefcake in town. No chance to identify him.

This is my witness report, three years after it happened. Violence in movies or tv shows is nothing compared to that. Trust me. And be thankful for every day that you don’t have to encounter anything like it.

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