You know how some people can obsess over things that happened or might happen? It's the "might have beens" and "what ifs" that bother me the most. Missed opportunities, missed chances to say the super awesome snarky comeback. Wondering what would have happened if... What if that person hadn't been there? Close calls. Things like that.
For me, sometimes those memories are worse than the ones where shit really did happen.
Today, my chiropractor and I were chatting after he fixed my back up for me (God, I love that man...) and we were talking about startle responses. I was saying that mine is really stupid bad, partly because I'm always on guard for Crackle. I'm always, always alert. Always ready to jump. And I said something about the time my dear niece decided to jump out and yell "BOO". I nearly hit her. Like, the kind of nearly that is OMG, I can't believe I managed to stop myself! What if I hit her? What would have happened? It bothers me. So he said to me, "That's quite the response. Have you been attacked or something to give you that?" I said, without thinking, because I wouldn't be me if I thought for a second before I spoke, "Yeah. By Alex Ternowetsky and a few of his buddies". He said, "Boys pulling pranks?" I said, "Google his name." That's all I could say, because in my brain I was screaming SHUT UP BEFORE YOU START CRYING, YOU FUCKING MORON.
Now, what happened with me and him and his buddies didn't amount to much. I was outside at work. They surrounded me, pushed me around and generally scared the shit out of me with the stuff they said. One of them seemed scared and told Ternowetsky to knock it off (I don't remember that kid's face, but I vividly remember him saying, "Come on Alex. Don't do this"), and when Alex turned to give him the STFU look, I bolted into the gas station I was working at and locked up and called the police, who declined to come because the boys had already left. But that fucking haunts me. Far worse than some other things that have happened. What if? What if the boy who had a conscience hadn't been there? What if they'd decided to wait for me after my shift? It was dark. Late. I was alone. My car was in a dark corner. What if? These kids proved themselves to be psycho little bastards not long after.
And what if my hockey hero hadn't been at that party?
What if the doctor at the hospital I stayed in shortly after Snap was born hadn't switched out with the other doctor? I'd have been an easy target. I wasn't from around there. I was vulnerable. But the other doctor insisted on taking my case. Why? And what if she hadn't?
I have so many close calls like that. Most of them don't bother me (like the doctor). But some? I can't seem to stop thinking about them sometimes. Today was one of those days. As soon as I said that fuckwipe's name (and by the way, he's out of prison, because apparently planning and committing a murder is a minor crime if the victim is a First Nations female sex worker) I was shaking and flashing back. All fucking day I was off. For something that barely happened. I never really understood "being triggered" before today. Now I do.