Wednesday, March 25, 2009

two years ago

Two years ago tonight, my friend Phil and I were sitting on my second-floor, back porch having a few beers and talking about work and music when two young men walked off the alley to rob my neighbor. One of them pointed a large chrome-plated revolver at her. When I yelled at them to leave her alone, he turned and fired two shots. One bullet lodged in the kitchen wall, and one bullet went through a two-by-four before hitting me in the shoulder. I blacked out when it happened and didn't know I'd been hit when I got up from the porch floor. My shoulder hurt, but I thought it was from the fall. It wasn't until I felt the blood coming out of the hole in my shoulder that I realized I'd been hit.

The next events follow a blurry trajectory of firemen from the station behind my house, police officers and detectives, and paramedics. There were neighbors and Phil. There was the ambulance and the oxygen and the heart monitors and the IV lines. Banana was upstairs asleep while all of this was going on and didn't wake up until much later. By then, my father had arrived to spend the night and get her to school in the morning. She still remembers being scared when she woke up and I wasn't there. And given my father's occasional mentions of that night and how much worse it could have been, I can only imagine what he must have been feeling.

The wound

The bullet lodged in the muscles between my shoulder blade and spine. It damaged muscles and nerves, but narrowly missed doing far greater — and possibly mortal — harm. It caused a hairline fracture in one vertebrae and set me on a course of physical and mental recovery that continues today.

As time goes by, I expected the impact to lessen, but it hasn't. This is in part because I can never forget that someone tried to kill me. That I am known as the neighbor/friend/guy who got shot keeps it alive in other people's minds as well. I've begun to accept that this certain grace or fortune that kept me lucky enough to be here is also something that will always be with me.

And while I can't wish the event away, I do wish for one thing: an arrest, a conviction, closure.