I am writing you down because Allen told me I should. “I don’t know how you haven’t started doing this sooner,” he said to me at last Thursday’s meeting… Hmm, that’s funny. I was about to say that Allen is a good guy and I’m glad he’s in the group, but the fact is he’s a creep and that’s why he’s in the group in the first place. I guess I’m still struggling with the notion that I’m in the same room as some of these people, mostly because I don’t think I’m a creep at all. At least not like Allen. I’m just a very angry person right now.
Allen is angry too, but he is the violent kind of angry; the kind of angry that made him break both of his hands on the hood of his car because it wouldn’t start. That, as they say, is a very bad kind of angry. People don’t need to worry about me like they need to worry about Allen. I couldn’t be violent even if I wanted to.
Allen says what makes him angry is when he thinks about when his dog ran away and got killed. He always talks about that dead hound at the meetings, saying he knows it was his fault the dog got out and that he didn’t look for it right away. He says he broke his hands on the hood of his car because the anger poured over him like an ocean wave. He couldn’t get it to start and that made him think about the dog and that made him lose his cool, he said. Like a bad chain reaction.
I guess I’m understanding Allen a bit more now that I’m writing about him. I’m starting to think he isn’t as creepy as I thought he was just a few minutes ago. I say that because I can relate to that feeling of anger he described; how it washes over him, pulls him under, and drags him out.
I feel the same way whenever I think about what people said to me after the accident. They didn’t really know what else to say, I guess. I’m not so sure I would know what to say were I in their position, but the fact that I was forced to complete the thought on my own, well, that wore me down real quick.
"You’re not dead," they would say with a sincere, thoughtful, ‘we’re gonna pull through this together’ expression on their face. It always seemed like they were saying it to make themselves feel better about my situation, about my becoming, in an instant, totally incapable of moving or feeling anything below my collar bone.
I remember it was the doctor who spoke to me first: He told me what had happened, told me time would tell, told me I wasn’t dead. The pastor came by, told me to pray, told me to have faith, told me I wasn’t dead. My wife came in, told me she was sorry, told me things would get better, told me I wasn’t dead. And every time I heard it I would think the same thing. (I don’t want to write it down for you because I’m trying to get it out of my system. Allen says it’s good to get rid of what he calls “negativity baggage” or something like that…)
I’m gonna have to ask my wife to remind me to ask Allen at the next meeting what the name of his dog that died was.