Witness to Bear

I’ve heard tell some folks’ worst nightmares, and darkest secrets of their lives. I’ve been let in on the most hurtful of other people’s memories and experiences. There are things I wish I had never heard that haunt me still. Unprompted and uninvited I’ve heard almost all the horrid stories of human interaction possible, from a firsthand survivor point of view. Abuses sexual, physical and mental don’t begin to describe them. I hesitate to share them despite this being the nature of the post and the medium at large. Let’s say I’ll share one of (if not THE) most painful: a father bringing his son to his knee in order to shoot a kitten in the head, ostensibly to teach something, although no method can be cast over the shadow of this madness.

I have watched a couple break up, their 10 year marriage melting before my eyes – two close friends I cared for deeply had gotten to the point of public humiliation and physical suffering over their tortured relationship’s tattered remains.

I have patted backs and held hands, sitting quietly as they bear their hearts and souls to the light of day for the first time. They’ve told me secrets whispered quietly in the early dawn, feeling like it’s still late at night… a 15 yr old girl says in the almost-darkness “I’m pregnant, but please don’t tell anyone”.

They have told me their secret fantasies that they don’t tell their partners. They tell me their sexual adventures and exploits galore, unasked. People have come out to me as not-heterosexual when they were terrified to tell anyone else.

I have watched others have sex and do drugs and strip nude to skinny dip in the moonlight drunk.

I have been trusted and let it on countless dirty tales, sworn to secrecy, told in deep confidence of my discretion, just as I’ve been let into pools of shame big enough to drown in.

Strangers have stopped me on the bus or street corner to tell me about their lives when I’m just on my way home, delving into excruciating detail for strangers in the night. They talk about crazy happenings and all the things they’ve witnessed in their time – catching me up on any happenings I missed in my limited capacity as just one human.

I’ve watched a crack-head excitedly show her friends a fat $20 rock she had got, just to fumble and drop it so all 3 are on hands and knees sorting through trash in the alley hoping to find it.

Snapped a picture once of a homeless man with half a large pizza all to himself.

I’ve watched seizures, freak outs, and tantrums enough to write about for pages.

I’ve watched my family’s every moment as they keep looking back to make sure I’m watching.

I’ve watched people hurt themselves only feeling safe with me by their side, even if that safety isn’t enough to keep them from it.

I watched a man beat a woman in the front of their car, with us just staring on from the sidewalk, unable to respond to her honking the horn until they drove away together.

I’ve seen pure ecstasy take over and rapturous wonder flood faces high on life, praying or dancing or ranting or singing or just living another day in the sun.

I’ve seen more than one person confide in me that they handle their business – and that business turns out to be self defense.

Blood on knives never lies.

Many a praise has been said of my understanding, when really they’re exhorting my skills at accepting what has come to me in this life, understood or otherwise.


I have watched lives and times go by, and long believed I was put on this earth to bear witness to it all.

It’s almost as if I have no purpose of my own, save but to witness and accept that which came before me in this universe, without my input or participation in any way.





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