spots of blood… thick, fat, round splats of blood along the bar floor. It got my attention. I was doing my closing duties, wiping down the bar, moving in circles, and I noticed the blood on the floor, on the bar tap, on the espresso machine… fat and dark red. I looked at my left hand, the one with a large birthmark on it that bleeds easily when nicked and scratched. There was a solid line of blood on my finger. The other finger was covered in bandage and finger condom from a cut fifteen minutes prior and now I had another one.
Actuallyt it was a piece of glass stuck into my finger. It was small, the size of a 1/4 of a pencil eraser. I pulled it out with my teeth and the blood started to leak out good then. I went and bandaged myself up. We were closed and I was getting ready to leave the bar for home and a beer.
The day started out on the wrong foot. I was running late to work and that put me on edge. At work we got a pop and the servers were working their asses off. It was all I could do to keep up. There were questions of how they could assist me, what could they pour. I was in the weeds already and to be asked questions, when I am in a bad state of mind, only frustrates me more. I told everyone to talk elsewhere, not around me, and stay out of the bar (out of my way).
At the end of the rush I had a cup of coffee and some ice cream and let myself unwind a bit. It did me a world of good. However, near the end of the night I was getting more and more frustrated. The issue, as stupid an issue as there is, was on water glasses. I had a dishwasher full, two sinks full, the top filled to overflowing, and servers kept bringing me water glasses. I wash the bar glasses and enough water glasses to keep the bar stocked. Yet I was getting behind in other things because of washing so many fucking water glasses. When I asked several times the same servers would continue to bring me fucking water glasses. 1/2 the glasses washed are water glasses and I’m behind in everything now. The answer given to me by the servers was that they didn’t want to ‘walk all the way back to the kitchen’ to take them back. Basically, fuck you that your are busy, I’m going to put them here anyway. That’s what I heard. I got angrier and angrier. Still they came. I exploded and bitched even more, threatening to turn off the entire dishwasher and they could take all the fucking glassware to the back dishpit. I was argued with and I was already pissed off. I was told ‘to get another job’ if I couldn’t do this one. This pissed me off more. I am the fastest bartender at the company. I was told it was a silly thing to get pissed off about. And while it I was arguing and getting pissed off, one of the waitstaff who is as competent as a one legged blind man, laughed at my anger and walked off.
I write all this out to show the pettiness of it all. For I realize it. Both sides are in the fault, me and the servers. Fine. But when that ##### laughed at me as I was getting amped up for a fight, something clicked in me. I wanted to hurt people… really, really, really hurt people badly. I’m not talking about a fistfight… I am talking to do serious damage. I wanted blood. I wanted the entire room of people to experience pain as much as I could dish it out. I was aware of many objects around me, at that time, that I could use to inflict pain, if not kill.
A coworker tried to calm me down and did a great job at it. He was just enough to calm me but not enough to get me angry at him. I was almost out of the room when I heard another laugh and I wanted to go back in. He helped me not to.
The casual person might say that, yes, I was angry and that I wanted to throw down. The casual person has no fucking idea. I did not write above that I wanted to punch a couple of people in the face and gloat over them, or to hit them and get them to shut up, or to punch them and therfore ‘win’ the argument. No. I wanted them to suffer. I wanted to really hurt them.
Writing that last paragraph scares me. If you don’t see how it would, you do not understand how much I wanted to hurt them. I fought the urge to run out into the parking lot, just to get away from temptation. I wouldn’t look at them and I tried to let it go as best as I could. My chest and arms felt like I had worked out and were tired and numb. I was petrified of what I had almost done. Could one more word directed at me had brougth me to put one of three sharp objects to my right hand into his and her face? Oh my god! I went up and away and called my therapist and couldn’t leave a message. When the tone went off to leave my message, emotion rolled over me like an avalanche. I felt as though I were coming apart. I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to fall to pieces. As I was on my third attempt to leave a message, she called and let me tell her what had happened. I told her how fearful I was of how close I had come to hurting someone. Could I have stopped myself? I felt as though I were on a wild animal with the poorest of reigns. The manager came looking for me… stuff needed to be done at the bar. I got off the phone and back to work.
As everyone left and I was alone with my thoughts I found it hard to breathe. I breathed in gasps… like I was holding my breath and remembered every now and then to breath. My mind, numb, went over what had happened. I was edgy all night and the right buttons had been pushed, the right factors, the laughter, the confrontation, it all, and I had almost lost it. I was so afraid of myself that I thought (still am) of leaving right then and driving away to someplace away from everyone. I thought of quitting my job because I was afraid of what I might do. I was then afraid that there wasn’t any other jobs out there for recluses to not talk or deal with people that pay any money… and I would not be able to make my rent or truck payments. Who would hire me? I’m a crazy vet waiting to snap! What the fuck would I do?
Such a slippery slope to suicide. It doesn’t have a lot of pull… but the thought did come to mind. Tired, weary, and very afraid of what I could do…. if one has a dangerous dog that bites people for no reason… you put it down… why should I be any different? In my back pocket I have some suicide hotline numbers that I give out to soldiers and their families. I know the confusion and such that they feel and I wanted to try to help them. I thought of my own needs at this time… how I wish there was another Eddie out there doing what I am doing that I could call. Who do the heroes call for help? I am no hero though.
I feel broken right now, like a lot of the big pieces were held together by tape and that tape finally came off and those big pieces fell down to the ground. I think of the other soldiers out there who might have felt something like what I am feeling and who did commit suicide. I grieve for them. I wish I could have been called by them. This thought propels me forward… to carry on… to move on and grow through this, to not give up… to be there for my comrades.
The next two days are off days for me. I am thinking of going hiking… far into the wilderness away from roads and people… to still myself and let myself fall apart onto the wild earth.
Right now I feel so very alone. I don’t want to hurt. I don’t want to be in that state where I want to hurt. Better to hurt yourself than another person… especially over something as stupid as water glasses. Right? This hurts.
I write all of this out so that others can read it. Maybe someone will be in a similar situation sometime and wonder, in absolute terror, how they could want to harm their wife or friend or whomever, and wonder if they are a bad person. No, my friend… you are not a bad person. You have something wired different in you that is ready for war, to respond at the blink of an eye to a threat from any direction, to kill quickly and decisively without hesitation. Once a river has cut its path through the hills, it is forever more an easy thing for water to follow that course. You are not alone in feeling this. You are not different from many others who have had to look more deeply into the abyss of darkness and death (for they are the ones delivering death to others) and have come away changed by it. I know it is easy to give up right now. I know it might sound like the safest bet, to throw in the towel. But you have to keep going, keep pushing, to see this storm through. You have your fellow solders, your family, and others, counting on you to make it through this. Don’t give up. Call for help. Seek counselling. Do something. But don’t give up. Don’t.