There’s Really No Easy Way to Say ‘I Was Stabbed’
The first thing people usually want to know is what getting stabbed feels like. The answer is that it feels like getting punched really hard. Or at least, I assume it’s what getting hit feels like. I’ve never been punched. I have been stabbed six times.
I’ll back up. And I’ll try not to make this too writerly, but I’m fighting my instincts. I wanted to add a quote from an Auden poem about suffering, but I desisted. Please admire my restraint.
You have to understand, this kind of thing doesn’t happen in Wellington. It doesn’t happen in most places, but it especially doesn’t happen in a small city in New Zealand, in a park, at 11:30 a.m.
I was just trying to take my dog for a walk. On windy days, we like to go to the park that’s below street level, sheltered by trees. We were maybe 10 minutes into the walk, and I was checking my phone to see if anyone had liked something dumb I tweeted. I didn’t hear the man run up to me; I just suddenly felt someone grab me from behind.
My first irrational thought was that it was a friend trying to surprise me with a bear hug. Which doesn’t make any sense; all my friends have real jobs, and no one knew where I was. And then I felt the hit to my back, right between my shoulder blades. Like a punch. And then another, next to the first, and then I was turning. My dog was barking; for a 20-pound creature, her bark is shockingly loud. He got my right shoulder twice, then I was facing him, and he stabbed me in the chest. I fell back, and he kept coming.
My life didn’t flash before my eyes. I didn’t think about my life; I thought about dying.
I was yelling; not screaming, but yelling words. I just kept saying, “Stop it, stop it.” And my dog kept barking.
My life didn’t flash before my eyes. I didn’t think about my life; I thought about dying. I thought that this could be it, that this could be how I die. And it didn’t make me sad or regretful. It made me fucking angry. I didn’t want to die in the dirt like this; I didn’t want people to find my body in my torn-up sneakers and a sweatshirt from…