2X4

The attack would leave scars on my body and in my mind.

When I first moved to Atlanta, I shared a house with two roommates in Grant Park. At the time, it was an area of town that wasn’t the greatest. There were burned out houses and not a lot of retail investment. The nearest grocery store was pretty far, I had to take a bus to get to it.

Since then it has gentrified. I’m not sure I could afford a house in that neighborhood any longer.

I didn’t have a car and I worked downtown so I often rode the bus and train to get to work. I was waiting tables at a place called Damon’s. We specialized in steaks, ribs and it was set up like a sports bar. I had gotten the job the first week I moved to the city and it was a pretty good source of income.

I often had to work the closing shift, so would sometimes get out at 1 or 2 am. Most buses stop running at that time so I would take the train to King Memorial Station and walk home.

This particular night, I was walking home, wearing my Sony Walkman and listening to dance music. I realize this revelation may date me a bit…As I was nearing my neighborhood, I passed two guys who were carrying two by fours. I didn’t really think much of it and kept walking.

I got to the parking lot of the CVS by my house and saw shadows of someone coming up behind me. I turned around and barely saw them before the the first guy hit me in the head with his two by four. The other one hit me across the top of my shoulders and I hit the pavement.

I think they expected me to stay down but I got up and started screaming. I must have freaked them out because they took off running. Funny enough, I had about $300 in cash on me from tips that night. They didn’t get a cent. I don’t know if they were trying to rob me but they didn’t succeed.

I also took off running up the street toward a gas station that was open all night. I was running in the middle of Boulevard, trying to stop cars. Back then, you didn’t stop in that part of town for a crazy man running up the road.

Right before I got to the gas station, my head started feeling tingly. I’d never had that sensation before so I reached up with the palm of my hand to touch my head. When I brought it down, it was covered in blood. That freaked me out even more.

I threw open the door to the convenience store part of the gas station and staggered in, bloody and scared. The guy behind the counter had to be about 80 years old and took one look at me and grasped his chest. I remember thinking:

“Please don’t have a heart attack before you call 911.”

His reaction gave me a sense of how bad I looked.

He dialed 911. There was a fire station across the street so the rescue got there very quickly. To date, it’s the only time I’ve had to have my head strapped down to a board.

They asked me where I wanted to go. Not knowing any difference, I told them to take me to the closest one.

I needed stitches in the cut on my head but that’s all. The doctor had to shave some of my hair and then put in 5 stitches. I was joking and making conversation by this point.

When they let me go, I looked like I had been in a war zone. My head was wrapped in a turban of bandages. My jacket was covered in blood, there was dried blood all over my clothes. I was afraid to take the train home again so I woke up my roommate, Brian at 3am to ask him if he would come and get me. I will never forget that I woke up our other roommate, who was pissed because he was on some medicine that made it difficult for him to go back to sleep.

When Brian pulled up in his car, I carefully maneuvered myself into the passenger seat. Brian looked at me and said:

“What the hell happened to you?”

“I don’t want to talk about it. Can we just go home?”

Brian drove for about 50 feet and then pulled over again.

“I’m sorry, I have to know what happened to you.”

Sobs exploded from within my chest.

Brian held me while I cried.

For a long time afterward, I would think twice about dark streets, men that I didn’t know.

The wounds healed but you can still see the scars.

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