22 Hours at Gunpoint – A Day Later



22 Hours at Gunpoint (http://iwendy.ca/1980/07/12/22-hours-at-gunpoint-1980/) – A Day Later

Down 20+ Flights.
Racing With me.
Racing Behind me.
Racing Around me,
And In me.

Heart Pounding.
For Breath.

On the Kitchen Table –
“He is not with us.
We don’t know where he is.
Do NOT be alone with him.”

And I’m racing,
Down 20+ flights.
Conscious of one thing only,
The terror following,
The terror surrounding,
The terror consuming,
Every step,
Of every flight.

Reach the bottom.
So afraid
Of that open lobby.

He might be there.
With his gun,
Waiting to take me out.
Waiting to see me fall
Into that forever land
Of never land.

No choice
But to go.
Race through
That terrible space.
A lobby
That is not a lobby,
But a place
Where he
Can lie in wait.

Where do I get
The strength?
I am not a runner.
I am not even very fit.
Yet, I race on.
Heart pounding,
Straining for breath.

Through the lobby,
Out the door,
Gain access to my car,
Key in ignition,
Tires squealing,
Making good my escape,
To live another day,
And then perhaps another,
As I wait,
For the moment,
That moment
When he will keep his promise
To end my life.

I’ve felt it so many times
In my mind.
Felt it,
Seen it,
Heard it.
The shot,
The impact,
The fall,
The blackness.

Then nothing.

But not today.
Tomorrow maybe.
The day after.
Next week.
Next month.

The promise has been made.
And I wait for him to keep it.









22 Hours At Gunpoint



22 hours – at gunpoint.
A lifetime – of PTSD, 1980

I am running.
Being chased.
Caught now.
It didn’t take long.
Seconds, really.

He is so fast.
So powerful.
With the strength
Of a madman.

I am dragged,
By the neck.
Down the stairs.
To the basement
To the hidden gun.
Back up the stairs.
To the bedroom.

I am beaten.
It doesn’t hurt.
I am
Beyond pain,
Beyond fear,
For my very life.

Stripped naked.
Thrown to the floor.
Raped, viciously.
Spare you the details.
No need to know.

Beyond pain.
Beyond fear.
For my very life.

Strong hands
Around my neck.
I am losing consciousness.
He laughs.
Tells me I am turning blue.
Strangling me.
Almost to the death.

And I fight.
For my very life.
Eyes of insanity upon me.
Laughter mocking me.
Hands tightening.
Death approaching.
I see my death,
My death,

He stops.
Rises up.
Presses a shoed foot to my head.
All his weight
Crushing my head.
Grabs nylons from a dresser drawer.
Throws me over.
Ties my hands behind my back,
Nylon cutting into wrists.

I am dragged up
From the floor.
Thrown to a crashing bed.
Where I lie.
Hands tied.
Circulation slowing in my wrists.

I am held at gunpoint.
My fate in the hands
Of a madman.
A madman
With a gun.

And the hours pass.
He paces.
He stops.
Holds his rifle to my head.
Finger on the trigger.
Tells me to pray.
Holds the rifle to my head.
Finger on the trigger.
Tells me to pray.

I wait.
For the final moment.
The click of the trigger,
The ending of my life,
I wait
At gunpoint,
My fate in the hands
Of a madman.

And the hours pass.
He paces, stops, points, tells me to pray.
And the hours pass.

My hands are numb now,
Nylons digging deeply
Into my wrists.
He agrees to untie me,
What can I do anyway
Against a madman?
A Madman
With a gun.

He crosses the hall
To the bathroom.
Leaves the gun
Mid-distance between us.
We can both see it
Leaning there
Against the wall.
Dare I go for it?
Would I know how to use it?
Do I just pull the trigger?
Is there a safety?
Could I beat him to it?
Could I even pull the trigger
Given the chance?
I think that I could
You know,
In this moment,
With my own life in the balance,
If only I knew how,
Which I don’t,
And I didn’t.

Suddenly I know.
In that moment,
He is only waiting for the excuse.
The excuse for the blinding rage
That would allow him to pull the trigger.
And so I wait.
The opportunity passes.
The hours too.

I don’t pray.
Never once bargain
With God
Or the universe.
I look occasionally
For the angel of death.
Then close my eyes
So I cannot see.

I start a litany
At some point
During that long night:
Kill me, you kill your mother.
Kill me, you kill my father.
Kill me, you kill your mother.
Kill me, you kill my father.
Kill me, you kill your mother.
Kill me, you kill my father.
On and on.
A monotonous litany.
In my second language,
Not my first.
A monotonous litany.
After hour,
After hour.

I clutch a pillow to my face.
I cannot look anymore
Down the barrel of that gun,
Into the eyes of a madman.
I clutch a pillow to my face
And wait for the bullet
That will end my life.

And then,
Something changes.
His eyes seems to clear.
A fog seems to lift.
Just like that,
He tells me its over.
He frees me.
Tells me he will not kill me today.

He will not kill me,
He says,
But he will kill me
He says:
I will never know how.
He says:
I will never know when.
He says:
That someday,
He will kill me.
He will not allow me to live.
He will not allow me to make a life.
He will kill me.
And I will be dead.

I escape for now.
Escape him.
And death.
For now.

But it’s here with me,
For a lifetime,
That experience
And that threat,
The panic attacks
That persist
After year
After year.

I experience
Again and again,
My 22 hours at gunpoint.
My lifetime of PTSD.