In his Myth of the Modern Homosexual, historian and cultural theorist Rictor Norton explains that the term "asshole" developed as a homophobic (and thus woman-hating) slur; while women and men both have rectums, a man who is anally penetrated has lost his manhood, and thus become feminized.
Long story short, I survived. So did my ex. We both spent 24 hours in ICU, and then were transferred to separate psychiatric units. I never saw her again. The sheriff’s department didn’t arrest me because they assumed that the two of us were in a suicide pact. But I knew differently, and in a fit of remorse, confessed what I had done to a hospital psychiatrist. My ex, once she regained her faculties, was devastated. As bad as things were, she didn’t want “out” — and felt shocked and unfathomably betrayed by our my unilateral decision to kill us both. My ex’s parents, who were prominent and powerful, were furious. They had known me, and for a time, liked me. They certainly never imagined I would try and kill their daughter. But both parents and daughter also made it clear that they didn’t want to press charges. They just wanted to make sure that we never saw each other again. And we never have. (I’m happy to say that through mutual acquaintances I have learned that this ex got sober, turned her life around, and is married and living happily in the south.)
I’ve checked with a couple of attorney friends of mine, and according to them, I’m at no legal risk for disclosing now what took place in 1998. (And yes, as part of my amends process in recovery, I even disclosed this story to my supervisors at the college, and told it to the college president.) I share it now not to shock or , but because I want to make it clear I live with a keen sense of what my friend Bill is talking about when he talks of being haunted by what might have been. No one died on June 27, 1998, largely through luck. Enough gas was released to blow up the apartment and perhaps kill our neighbors as well as my ex and me. I attempted a serious crime that miraculously caused no lasting harm. Intoxicated or not, I could have easily been charged with attempted murder, and it was the decision of my ex and her parents (as well as the sheriff’s department) to spare me from what could have been a wrenching but deserved legal penalty.
For years afterwards, I was haunted by fears that my ex’s family or the district attorney might bring charges. Far worse was the guilt, the sense of horror at what I’d tried to do. What if I had succeeded in killing us both? What if, perhaps worse, I had killed her but had myself survived? Could I forgive myself? It was hard enough forgiving myself (and seeking forgiveness) for what I had tried to do. It was incomprehensible to think about what might have been had I not made that drunken phone call, or the door not been kicked in in time.
The post was written in haste as a response to a friend’s query about forgiving oneself for a terrible error. The example my buddy Bill offered was of neglecting a dog he’d been housesitting. Foolishly, I regrettably offered the most painful example from my own life of a dreadful action – the time I tried to kill another human being and myself. It was grotesquely insensitive of me to compare what Bill had done with a pet to what I did to my ex, and I deeply regret having framed the story in that way. I also am sorry that the post was written so as to frame my feelings alone in a way that eclipsed my ex, the victim of this episode.
« Older Puzzle World is a repository of puzzle awesomeness... | FillDisk... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt