I killed a man with my bare hands. Even now, years after having been cleared of the responsibility by the police, my own guilt remains. It doesn't matter how many years pass, the memory of that night can surface in an instant and the feelings it brings with it are enough to drive me into a depression as dark as any in my life.
It wasn't like I woke up on that particular day and said, "Today I'm going to kill someone." I didn't plan for it to happen. How could anyone have planned for something like that to occur?
It was Abby and my first date, and it should have been one of those nights that we would remember forever as one of happiness, but, it never will be, all because of how I reacted in that one split second.
I don't know that I even knew I was capable of the level of violence that found it's way into me that night, but, it was there, lying in wait just below the surface, waiting.
The mugger that night, woke something in me that I wished I had never knew existed, and once unleashed it cost him his life. When I saw him struggling with Abby all I could think about was stopping him, and once I had hold of him I couldn't stop myself.
I'm not sure if I would have reacted differently had he not attacked Abby, and I can ease my guilt somewhat by telling myself that my actions were the result of my needing to protect her but, either way the man's still dead. In the end the fractures to his skull and the injuries to his brain were too severe, he never made it out of the ER.
Self defense, that was how they excused my actions. A man was dead, beaten to death, and they were okay with that because he had hit me with a pipe before I repeatedly pounded his head into the pavement. I wish I could wash my hands of the guilt so easily.