I have been pondering recently how this transformation of mine happened, when it really started.
This morning, whilst looking up a book a new friend suggested I looked up when she heard my take on my psychosis – The Devil and Miss Prym, it came to me.
In May 2011, a friend of mine in Canada killed someone and I was faced with some tough decisions to make. Emotionally decisions. Decisions which shambled my life.
It all started on a normal Monday, my best friend came to find my husband and I and started crying when she told us one of our friends, also her best friend, was in trouble.
She had heard there was a beating and our friend had gone AWOL. At first, she thought our friend was hurt and hiding somewhere. She was scared of looking for him as she was scared of what she would find.
As the story unfolded, our friend was eventually found and arrested by the Police when he was on his way to the City, to “file his taxes” we later heard.
The facts that emerged at the very start were that him and his good friend were getting drunk around a firepit, and they had an argument and our friend beat up his friend, then put his body in the trunk of his car, drove him two blocks away and dumped the body in a ditch. Someone found the body in the early hours of the morning – incidently someone I started to work for not long after and, overhearing a telephone conversation, I got to hear exactly the state the body was in when he called for an ambulance as the chap was actually still alive. He was then air-transported to a hospital when he was put on a life support machine. A couple of days later, his family decided to stop the life support machine and he died.
This is the story how we know it before my best friend – Let’s call her V – was advised by our friend’s lawyer to keep quiet as anything she might say would harm his defense, which was going to be self defense.
This event sent me spiralling. Or, as I now realise, woke me up.
While everybody had their two cents to say – telling me I should support him, or telling me how could I stand by him, I was left with my own conscience to decide how I should feel.
For a couple of weeks, I was absolutely lost: here was a man I adored having committed the ultimate crime in my eyes: he had taken someone’s life.
I drunk, I smoked, I tried to forget, I tried to forgive, I tried to make sense but I couldn’t. I talked to my family, I talked to friends, I talked to the Church but no-one could give me the answer I was looking for.
At first, my husband was very supportive towards me, he let me talk about it whenever I felt the need, trying to help me come to terms with it.
One day, the day after my birthday, after having spent the evening arguing with my friends how it wasn’t as simple as just forgiving him, I decided it was time to go and see our friend who was then out of remand, I thought hopefully seeing him would give me an answer. Up until then, I had not been able to face him.
I will never forget that meeting. When I saw him, he came towards me opening his arms and gave me the biggest hug I had ever needed, squeezing me tight, and saying he was sorry. I looked into his eyes which filled with tears and he said again he was sorry.
This was just what I needed. I felt the love flowing through that hug and I had needed to feel this. As we were still hugging, he said “I am sorry for the pain I have caused”. This woke me up.
We then had a semi-typical evening, having chats about various things over coffee.
Life went back to normal after this meeting, except, I didn’t. He had said he was sorry for the pain he had caused. Not for taking someone’s life. Big difference to me.
Our little group of friends seemed happy to carry on as before, organising gathering where our friend attended, as if nothing had happened. One evening my friend V had got a new car and joked how many body could fit in the trunk and got inside and invited friends to join her. It was then I started to feel detached from them.
A few days after our meeting, my husband came home after a training day and announced to me that he no longer had a problem with what our friend had done as he realised that, after all, we didn’t really know what had happened and our friend had done nothing wrong to us and he was therefore able to forgive him, even more, there was nothing to forgive.
This is when our paths changed. I couldn’t support my husband’s decision.
The known facts were enough: he beat someone to near death, moved the body to a ditch and left him to die. Worst still, he seemed to show no remorse.
I kept quiet though because our little group of friends didn’t want to know. I had tried to express my opinions but no-one was of the same and they made me feel like there was a problem with me – “they could forgive and support him, how come I couldn’t?”
I started to feel alienated from the group. I started to escape more using alcohol and pot, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t ignore what my heart and head were telling me: something was badly wrong that life could go on, our friend could carry on socialising with us as if nothing had happened when a man was dead.
Now the victim wasn’t the best of character, granted. He was an aggressive alcoholic, a wife abuser, and many other bad things. Our friend however was one of his best friends. He had chosen to be his friend despite this guy’s well deserved reputation. Yet, he killed him.
I remember even going to see the church, on my best friend V’s advice. It helped somewhat to empty my thoughts, but the only answer they could give me was only God could judge. Oh, so I wasn’t allowed to pass judgement then?
About a month later, at the beginning of June, my husband and I separated. It had nothing to do with this incident, however, looking back, it had everything to do with it. My husband decided to forgive and forget what this man had done, worse still, he had decided there was nothing to forgive. I, however, cannot forgive.
This is where everything really changed for me. I no longer was the amiable person I was before, trying to go with the flow. I could no longer go with the flow: I became my own person. And I stood alone. Even apparently, according to the Salvation Army, defiant to God’s will.
All it took to convince me that I was on the right track was a mark our friend was proud of showing during the first dinner party V threw in his honour. A little scratch on his hand. that he proudly showed during that dinner party.
This little mark on his hand was his justification of the beating his friend received. Self defense indeed. I wasn’t duped. My eyes were fully open.
My husband chose V over me. He chose wisely.