Friday, January 13, 2006

The colour of bitter chocolate

Let’s see. Does it help to talk about the trauma, to re-live it, and then move on?

Or is it better to just say, “Ag, man, it’s over” just forget now, hey?

Who knows? Probably depends on the individual. For me, I was happy to go to trauma counseling the next day, at the Pilates studio, but the ensuing discussion, with all the other new angles and opportunities, and possibilites for evil and so on, I wasn’t expecting. I think I came away more freaked out than before. I must go for some more talk, because I can tell I’m messed up.

We all went our separate ways, all nine of us, for the rest of the day. Most everyone had his or her partner come and pick them up. But me. Hey, Mr D was working (what’s new?) in Barcelona, and he couldn’t come help me out. Just like most of the thousands of parent-teacher meetings at school, and music recitals, and sports afternoons, and every other goddamned thing. He wasn’t there. Why would I be surprised?

I know he works hard, and corporate business life doesn’t work well with family commitments. So. No surprises. Why would he happen to be available in a hostage crisis kind of situation? Not his fault. What can you say? It’s fine. I’m used to it. I finally called him, about noon, to fill him in. His response was: not genius. But then, no one can say what you really want to hear, after something like that, because ‘what you want to hear’, it just doesn’t even exist, man. There’s nothing to be said, that sounds right.

So, yeah, he said, “Wow, that really makes the whole ‘crime in South Africa thing’ seem really REAL, doesn’t it?”

Yes, my dear, you could say that. It was REAL. Seemed “real” to me.

I spent Monday afternoon dealing with keys. The car key, the house key. They took those, you remember, or maybe they tossed them, I don’t know, but the point is, I never did find my keys, and I didn’t know if they could connect those keys with me, my house, or my car. So both keys had to be disabled.

I called the Mini Cooper dealership, and then drove up there straightaway. Because it’s a computerized key, they could cancel it immediately, and order me a new one. Everyone was so kind. “Ag, I’m so sorry....”

Again, the response from South African people here, well it’s like someone in your family has died. Actually, someone HAS died a bit and it was you. Not fully, not fatally. But a part of you is gone. The part that thought well of strangers. The part that was willing to go through a door, down a hallway, without thinking twice. The part that trusted people. The part that didn’t mistrust blacks. I’m sorry. It’s so not me, not ME. But I can’t help it. I realized, even at the time of giving my police statement, that I could never identify any of the three men in a line-up. (Like there would be one, a line-up. ha! not!) There are so many people in Africa, so many blacks. Could you say, for sure, THAT guy’s the one, when you were so much trying to NOT see him, at the time? No way.

A Scottish woman I spoke with yesterday, telling her my story, said, “Ach, well, they all look alike, don’t they?” And even though they don’t, I KNOW THAT, it’s like, you don’t even have the tools for describing. So “PC” goes right out the window. I mean, we ALL know you’re not supposed to say, “They all look alike.” And yet, in the event, they do. Everyone I saw on the street, everyone, this week, looked like one of the three men in my attack. Except for the fat ones. And there aren’t many fat black men in Africa.

One of the policemen, when we were giving statements, asked, “Was he dark, or medium, or light black?” I looked at him, thinking, “Hell, man, what the hell are YOU?” I would have put the policeman as “dark” but everyone else agreed he was “medium” and one woman continued, “You know those Nigerians, they can be really, really dark.” Shite, man, we have to have a flippin’ “colors” chart now, to pull out of the handbag, (BEFORE it’s stolen). All the effin’ shades of brown? Bitter? No way,man, not me.

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