"Almost every act of violence had hate at its core, had behind it a heart filled with resentment; so many victims of such acts must have felt secure in the knowledge that it would never happen to him, or to her. But it did. It happened."
The Perils of Morning Coffee, ebook, Alexander McCall Smith
I was dumbstruck by this little passage I read today, and I took it to heart, I gave it my own meaning, and violence has many incarnations, an accusement being one of them.
I have gone over the last few months at work over and over in my head, thinking, was it THIS precise moment that caused things to spill over, or was it THIS one? I went back further. Was my dad's illness and death, and my remoteness at work surrounding those heartbreaking events, did that push an already on-the-edge coworker a little closer to the abyss? Was it the special hours I worked for a couple of months so I could drive the 65-plus kilometres each day from home to work to the hospital to my parents' then-home back to my home? Was it my calm in the face of an over-emotional co-worker who seemed to get worked up over an untied shoelace?
Vacations. She started to take them right before mine, guaranteeing that she would have a soft landing when she came back, an extra few days or weeks with which to do nothing, unsupervised.
Then I got married. To a man whose father hails from the same region as she did. Both wonderful men, my husband and his father both. Men who support equality in a way that goes beyond giving it lip service. I had the wedding I wanted, the marriage I yearned for for so long. I was a glowing newlywed. Did that bother her, fill her with violence, feelings of envy and hate; of resentment?
My coworkers had a luncheon for the two of us after we came back from our honeymoon, coupled with a generous gift. In the photo from that day, she is standing directly behind me, laughing at something. What was funny? What she would do to me in a few short months?
My health went askew in May of last year. I had appointments, specialists, follow-ups, attention.
I wanted none of it. I wanted only one thing: normalcy, a return to my running, which helped me keep my head together after three very difficult years. She ventured that maybe I needed bifocals. I thought she needed to keep her juvenile opinions to herself. For every appointment, she had one to match, a 'pain in the bone' but I didn't look deeper--I didn't look for the gnawing pain in her psyche, the one that was already planning my destruction, by her hand.
She came to my father's funeral. She shared the air in that small chapel where I delivered his eulogy, and when I left the funeral home that day, I'm not sure that she knew, part of me stayed there.
And yet. She must have had a prayer card from the service that had his birth and death date written on it, in clear black ink.
She sent her missive, her accusation, on what would have been his 65th birthday, that auspicious date, which Margaret Atwood once described in one of her novels (it stayed with me, her description of this date, as it was in fact my father's birthday: November 13th--day of unluck, month of the dead).
Did she time it for maximum impact and pain? I have to believe, after combing over what I've combed over, that she did.
It's all confidential of course. As is this blog. There is no name, and if you ask me if it exists, I will deny it's existence. It's all very covert, Orwellian, ironic; Orwell is my favourite author.
It might seem like I'm not really taking responsibility for what has happened but I can guarantee that I am--I am responsible for letting myself believe that someone at this level was trustworthy, or, even less than that, guileless, too insubstantial to wreak havoc. Too incapable. Too lazy.
But it happened.
And I will say this, as a friend reminded me; it might happen again.
But not on my watch.