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Bystander

I’m a nice guy, relatively balanced. If i were to describe my emotional injuries by severity of condition, I would say most of my injuries would be skinned knees, papercuts, maybe a jammed finger every now and then. Everyday kind of pain. The kind of pain you get just from living life. It’s not risk taking pain. So when I see someone bleeding out on the sidewalk with a two broken ankles and blood running across their face, I gotta wonder “What were they doing?”

Thats where I make my mistake. Because that person who is bleeding on the sidewalk, blood draining from their face, eyes watering in pain, dragging themselves across through the streets, cursing everyone they see as that person blindly walks past. That person needs to be fixed up. They need a hospital. And I don’t understand why I as a person can see someone suffering the emotional equivalent of getting hit by a bus, being mugged, tossed off a rooftop. Legs shattered so they drop to their knees, lungs collapsed so they can’t breathe, scars to last them a lifetime or two. I don’t understand how I can walk past them hurriedly,or stop to stare at the aftermath but offer no hope, no help, living my life and collecting my own myriad of emotional injuries.

I’m just, a bystander. Able to see another person in need, but please. Please don’t ask me for help, better yet don’t look my way or say anything like that awful, horrible, vulnerable four letter word. So when the time comes for me to be accountable I can feel like I was only accountable for me. I can say I tended my own injuries and braved the pain of a hard days work. Smile crookedly at the mention of my name and say, “And you can do it too!” Because thats the hope of a bystander isn’t it, that secret horrific hope. That if we simply see, but never talk that maybe we can be seen and never have to be involved. That sometime a camera will roll by and we can sorta half smile and say ” I didn’t even now her.” Or ” He seemed so normal to me.” And we’ve gotten something for nothing. Just a life, not even a life we know.





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