A Letter to the Guy Who Threw a Glass at My Face

7 Mar

Dear ______,

It has been two weeks since the night that you decided to throw a glass at my head because I, rightfully it now seems, refused to serve you a drink because of your aggressive behavior. I am quite certain you won’t ever read this but on the off-chance that you stumble upon it one day, I figured I would let you know what my past two weeks have looked like.

I woke up the Sunday following the incident unable to fully see through my left eye because the lid was swollen enough that it was obstructing my vision. I picked up the phone and called my parents. My father answered. I started off the conversation by asking him whether he was sitting down, telling him that I was fine, and then told him that some guy had thrown a glass at my face and that I had a black eye. During the first moments of the conversation he must have motioned for my mother to pick up a receiver because at some point her voice appeared, a soothing balance to my father’s worry turned anger turned worry. I understood both of their approaches. I can’t imagine what it must be like to receive a phone call from your daughter on a Sunday morning with the news that she was physically assaulted at her job.  I spent the rest of the day on the phone with my parents and my boss, I cancelled plans with friends, got shifts covered at work, I cried. Occasionally I passed in front of the mirror, shocked every single time by the face that looked back at me.

That evening was taken up by a visit to urgent care to assess any potential permanent or temporary damage. Thankfully you hit me in the “right” place, a centimeter above my eye socket. Had the glass struck me just slightly lower, I could have lost my vision or the entire eye. But of course you weren’t thinking about that. You were so infuriated by my refusal to serve you the alcohol you clearly did not need that you almost caused me serious, permanent damage. It’s a strange feeling to consider yourself lucky in the aftermath of such an attack but I do. It could have been much worse. And honestly, you are almost as lucky as me that it wasn’t.

And the phone calls continued. To friends and family concerned about my well-being and ready to offer me advice about what I should do next. I would be stupid to go back to work at that bar, they said. I was like a sitting duck. I wouldn’t be safe. On top of the pain I was feeling in my head I was also looking at a potential loss of my livelihood, at least for the immediate future. But you didn’t think about that, either. You didn’t think about me being concerned about the short 2 block walk from the subway to my job, about the distance between the bar entrance and the taxi I will always have waiting for me now, about my anxiety that a new security guard who doesn’t know you will let you walk in the door and there I’ll be again, face-to-face with you, refusing you service because you will never get anything off me again, hoping that you don’t grab a bottle this time.

And then, of course, there is the physical reality. I have been making my way through the world for the past two weeks with a black eye. Do you know what it’s like to be a girl walking around with a black eye? No, of course you don’t, but I’ll tell you. It fucking sucks. People either stare or they avoid looking at your face, directing all questions and comments conspicuously over your left shoulder. Those that stare do so with a look of concern and pity. You can see the narrative forming in their heads about the late night argument, the angry boyfriend or husband, the accusations, the promises that it won’t happen again. Most people don’t ask what happened because they already know, or think they do. Those that comment say things along the lines of what a customer said to me last night: I hate seeing that shit. He refused to allow me to tell him the actual story about what happened, to assure him — even though, to be honest, I am not sure — of my safety. He already knew the story, or so he thought. He threw me a $20 tip.

I know you don’t care but my face is almost entirely back to normal. There is just a small discoloration under my left eye that can, in some light, pass for a birthmark. So when I head behind the bar tonight, behind the same bar that two weeks ago was the scene of the attack, I will look almost like I did then, almost like I did when you lost your shit and threw a double rocks glass at me without a thought to my safety or your freedom. But I guess rash behavior is sort of your deal, or so I’ve been told.

So I guess now we wait and see, let the chips fall where they may. I will continue to question every decision I have made up until this point. Were they right? Were they smart? Were they the best choices for me? My safety? Never once did I think about how these decisions might impact you. You are meaningless to me. Whatever happens to you now is on you, you did it. And as the time passes you will become less frightening to me. I will start to feel sorry for you, for whatever is wrong in your head that makes you behave the way you do, again and again, and somehow justify it to yourself. I will feel sorry for your family who constantly has to clean up your mess. One day they will stop. And it will just be you, and your anger, and your violence, all alone. I may or may not be the straw that puts you there but it will happen. And by that point I will barely even remember that you exist.

Good luck.

Rebekah

4 Responses to “A Letter to the Guy Who Threw a Glass at My Face”

  1. Debbie March 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    Bekah – nothing can ever excuse what was done to you and I dont mean this to sound in any way as excusing this horrific act of violence. For what its worth, I treat many people who suffer from the disease of addiction who have done truly horrible things while in active addiction. (I dont know this guy’s history but I imagine that if he got that angry about someone withholding alcohol from him, he likely has an alcohol problem.) The people I have worked with, once they get clean and start working a program of recovery, feel intense shame and guilt about hurting (physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc) both strangers and those closest to them. Who knows if he will ever reach this point in life and even if he were to take responsibility for his behavior that doesnt change what he did. I commend you for putting this out into the world in an attempt to heal and educate. Youre a brave lady – xoxo

    • FranklyRebekah March 7, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

      Hey girl. It didn’t come across as you excusing it at all and I totally get what you’re saying. I think that when I am a little less angry, and a little less scared, I will be able to be more cognizant and perhaps even empathetic about what it is in his life that causes him to behave the way he does. But right now I just think he’s terrible. Hopefully I won’t think that forever. Love you girl! Thanks for your consistent support!

  2. Sabrina March 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm #

    So so sorry this happened to you. Cutting someone like that off from more alcohol could have very well have saved someone elses face, or life, or even his own. It is not fair you had to pay for your ethical decision!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Trauma is a Bitch | franklyrebekah - June 1, 2015

    […] strong. I worked a shift behind the very bar where the incident occurred and then the next day I wrote him a letter. I knew he wasn’t going to read it, although I would be pleased if he did. It was just a […]

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