January 29, 2010

Street Fight

I shouldn't have been up so late, and furthermore, shouldn't have been staring out my window like the persnickety lady with nothing better to do. But I was guilty on both counts, and so I saw the street fight. It wasn't the same as others. There was no pomp, no trash-talking, no chanting circle. Instead a few people were huddled around a car. At first I thought the car had rolled back on a guy. Then I saw that a man was beating this other guy on the ground, jerking him up to hit his head on the underside of the car, then punching him, then banging his head against the tire. When at last the few people around had started to pull this guy up off the ground, the man stepped back and screamed at the guy on the ground. Then he hauled off and kicked him in the face. So swift, like he was on a movie where he lost his job and then comes home and kicks over a trashcan for dramatic effect. A final blow. I watched the guy’s face split open and my blood ran cold.

Do you know how many people I’ve seen shot, stabbed, hanged and massacred on television? Nothing compares to real life. If you’ve ever witnessed an act of violence, you know. I thought about my husband sleeping in the bed. I thought of my freshly washed dishes. I scurried to the bedroom and burrowed down deep. He doesn’t snore. In fact, he looks so serene I want to pluck out one of his eyelashes. Instead I press his calves with my cold feet. I want to say You will never believe the fight that I just saw! It would only punish both of us at this hour. I make myself think instead of Scarlett O’Hara and Ashley and those big dresses. I see Margaret Mitchell hunched, scribbling furiously, churning out a saga so big, so vast, just words on paper. I want to go into another world altogether and forget that balding bastard who’s just beat a young drunk guy for whatever reason, and then stood, cool as a cucumber. I know he is about to go home to some family and put those same hands on sleeping bodies. Men have done this for ages I know, but tonight, the thought is too much for me. I shudder out loud and tell myself Rhett Butler.


  1. I saw a fight from our fire escape in Chicago. It was two teenage girls and every once in awhile another guy or girl would join in. I was shaking and scared, and I was so freaked out that I called 911. I'm sorry you had to witness that--it's terrible.

  2. so i will write a reply that has nothing to do with street fighting (except Street Fighter was an awesome movie):

    we're actually going to Korea. in two weeks! we just went for a hike when we were visiting Freefall and Johnny Thunder, since they live in Asheville now. the trail was covered in snow and ice and blow-downs. it was pretty sweet.

  3. Yes, I want Natalie's Chocolate Cafe Au Lait cake recipe, please! The title alone makes me drool.

  4. Sis, I hate that you had to see that!
    But this is really good writing. :)


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