This is an unusual story. A woman is attacked in her home. But this is not about her. Her attacker is known to her. But this is not about him. She is alive. She is alive because of an unlikely and unsuspected hero. This is about her hero.
Years earlier she visited his parent’s home. One morning just at dawn he toddled into the living room, climbed into her lap and for the next hour, the two of them slowly breathed and rocked, looking out the big picture window. They listened and watched as the world and the house brightened and came alive.
Time passed and worlds became complicated for them both. As he grew, he had mountains to cross. His mountains were always bigger than the mountains of others. When he stumbled, he fell farther, his wounds were deeper and his scars more profound. Still, he survived and many people did not, or could not appreciate accomplishment in that.
Years later he visited her home, now he had grown into a man. During that visit she went into another room and the attacker, half asleep and half drunk, became angry at what she said. He moved before she could react. The attacker grabbed her, picking her up by the throat and slammed her on the bed. Now the attacker was sitting on her chest leaning his weight with a straight-arm on the hand around her throat.
She could not make a sound. Her legs kicked but could not find anything solid. Her arms had nothing to reach as well. She could not breathe, her head, pushed backward by the force of the attacker’s hand, she could not see. The attacker still had one hand free to keep her from accidentally reaching anything she might find. She was sinking deeper into pillows and bed, her lungs were burning.
Then she heard the Hero. Now he had become Her Hero. His voice sounded purposeful and sincere as he said: Let her go or I will cut your throat.
Slowly the pressure on her throat subsided, her head returned to a normal position and she was able to look up at the attacker. The attacker’s face appeared shocked and totally dazed. The attacker slowly moved away while Her Hero helped her move to safety and then called the police.
At the end of the call to police, as the sirens could be heard moving closer, he asked the question. He asked: I had to put a knife to the attacker’s throat to get him off of her, am I in trouble?
She began to cry. Still reeling, she had not cried when she saw the attackers shocked expression even though she realized he thought they were alone and did not mean to stop until she was dead.
Now she realized her Hero was willing to save her at any cost, even if he had to pay a personal cost. Her Hero already thought that personal cost would be required of him because the idea of having to even threaten with a knife for any reason was enough in his mind. Her Hero was willing to do whatever needed, and then admit what he had to do.
He never wanted violence or trouble but to save her he would go places he did not to go and would not go otherwise.
Her Hero was willing to do whatever it took to save her and then pull back. Of anyone who might be a hero, the attacker was lucky to meet this Hero. Her Hero saved one life and spared another that night.
Her Hero has the same big blue eyes he had when he climbed into her lap as a toddler. She still cries at what those eyes saw and the sadness it must give him.
Some people go through life wondering if they made a difference in the world. She has a Hero. This is about her Hero, so he will always know, always remember and for those around him to know.
He is a Hero. He made a difference. In the truest sense of heroism, knowing when to act, when to speak, and when to walk away, he is a Hero.
For Michael, I love you
“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”