This story is not mine to tell, but I am sharing it because I witnessed an event this morning that reminded of something I learned a long time ago.
Early this Saturday morning while walking our dog, I could hear loud shouting in the distance by a young girl, “Get off me, go away. You fxx@ing moron!” These were just some of the words I heard; there were many more.
On hearing this, I immediately became anxious about what was happening. I could hear the sound way before I could see, and this was someone in distress.
As I continued on my walk, my mind raced with thoughts of what could be occurring. I could make out in the absence of my glasses three people who had just got out of a taxi. The girl was shouting at a boy who I assumed to be her boyfriend. The other male was doing his best to restrain her.
As we approached, the taxi drove off. It was clear the boy and girl had been drinking and were having a domestic; she was laying into him. The slaps came as she managed to swing a free hand past the third person who was doing his best to restrain her. I had no idea why the boy on the receiving end stayed to take the punishment. He was being told, “Go away”. But he stayed and looked like he could handle what was coming.
As I assessed the situation, I realised it was not what I had initially feared, a lone female voice shouting. But violence is violence no matter who is involved, and it was clear this situation was a mix of alcohol and high emotions.
I could not go by without getting involved, so I asked the boy on the receiving end if he was ok. To which he replied as he stepped back, “Yes mate”. I walked past slower than usual. Mainly because Darla, our dog had decided she wanted to watch this spectacle and probably like me was wondering why at 6.00 am there was all this excitement.
I had no idea of the situation, but it looked like the third person was doing his best at separating the two. As I walked away, thankfully I heard him say to his friend, “No, Jay, be the bigger man, walk away!”
Later on our return walk, it was no surprise to see the three of them had moved on a bit along the path. There was now a fourth girl of a similar age. Jay, the boy who had been on the receiving end of the slaps, had walked further ahead so was closer to Darla and me. As he approached, I could see he had been crying; he had blood on his hands. My heart stopped, and a terrible thought went through my mind.
Thankfully I could see over his shoulder the girl, and the other boy looked ok. I asked him, ”Are you alright; mate is there anything I could do.” He smiled, wiped away his tears and replied, “Nah mate, I’m alright; it’s just a bit of blood.”
Darla the impetuous puppy, she is jumped up at him, and he bent down to greet her. I told him to take care of himself, and he carried on walking in the opposite direction along the path.
I soon caught up with the remaining three and asked if they were ok. The boy who had previously tried to restrain the girl answered, explaining it was just a domestic and they had been drinking. He said, “There is nothing, anyone can do, thank you for asking, safe man”.
Meanwhile, the two girls who were there were distracted; naturally, they ignored me. The new girl who had joined the original three was on her phone. The other girl who had now stopped shouting was looking on at Jay as he walked up the path. Suddenly she shouted out, “He is going to do it.” As I turned, I could see the boy who I had previously spoken to was making his way across the grass towards the road.
She began to run towards him, calling his name. I couldn’t believe what I saw; he was now some 50–60 meters away, and I could see him, with his hood up, hands in his pockets walking. Instantly I recognised what the girl meant by, “Don’t do it” and helplessly I watched as he kept walking and walking.
He didn’t stop; he walked straight into the road into oncoming traffic. My heart sunk. Luckily the car that was approaching saw him and stopped in time. The driver flashed his car lights and beeped his horn. It looked like the boy just paused for a second, to look at the car before he continued to walk.
I was appalled at what I just saw. I couldn’t believe he just stepped out into the road. In a fraction of a second less had the driver not managed to stop his car. It would have been a very different outcome for the driver, for him, for his friends. But I guess at that moment he was wrapped up in what he was feeling and wasn’t thinking straight.
Thankfully he made it across safely and the girl who had initially run towards him, knowing she would have never made it in time to stop him, was walking back, on her phone to join her friends.
I looked at the boy I was talking to, he had also seen what happened and just shrugged before turning to speak to the other girl who was still on her phone. They were concerned for their friend, but like me a distance away. I said, “I just hope he gets home safely” and proceeded to walk away slowly watching as it looked like they were working out where they needed to go.
I came away thinking in the space of a few minutes, how the tables had turned. The boy who looked like he had upset the girl was now the one who was visibly shaken and emotional. While the girl now looked like she was outwardly calm. I had no idea of what had gone on or why but what I do know is alcohol, and high emotions are a potent mix.
In a fraction of a second, a wrong decision is all it takes to change many lives, and we end up living with the consequences.
When emotions run high, we are all affected; we all bleed.
I do hope the boy got home safely and would understand. Just how events played out this morning and in a matter of minutes, emotions that were running high changed. The same would hopefully happen for him for the better with time.