So it's been over three weeks since the incident, it's been hard but it's also been quite an eye-opener for me. I've had opinions from people, opinions about whether I was careless and opinions on the current state of South Africa as a whole. Some valid, some not. I guess it's where these opinions come from that really matters? If they're from a place of love and care then fair enough but from somewhere else, I don't really wanna know. To cut through the bullshit I'm going to just say how it was and try and steer clear of the emotion of the incident. That way people know what happened and can make their own minds up based on facts. So here goes........
I headed off to meet my girlfriend for something to eat. I'll talk about her more at a later date as the story about how we met is interesting if a tiny bit embarrassing, though on second thoughts I might run it passed her first! Total honesty is what I strive for but I must respect her wishes, maybe I'll just keep her anonymous? What harm can that do?! Anyway, the plan that day, nearly a month ago now, was to get the train to century city which is a big shopping complex in Cape Town, to do a little bit of shopping and then get some sushi. I have a weird passion for the incredible raw fish based treat, it is very moorish! I went to Cape Town then to get my adjoining train and asked the man at the information desk which train I should be on to get to Century City. He confidently told me which train to get on so off I headed off, oblivious to the fact that I was about to board a train headed for one of The Cape's most notorious areas, and by 'notorious' I mean 'fucking dangerous'. I felt quite relaxed, I was excited about seeing my girlfriend, the relationship was new and invigorating and I was in a good frame of mind. I noted these two guys at the back of the carriage but didn't think a lot of it. After a while they moved forwards went past me and spoke to a man. The man gave me a strange look, worried and nervous and very anxious and then he left so I assume they said something to him to scare him off and the three of us were alone. One of the guys asked me the time and I just told him that I wasn't sure and gave him a rough estimate. This was when my senses were heightened and I realised that something wasn't right. I looked into his eyes and didn't see evil, I saw fear, I thought maybe I could help alleviate that fear, put them at ease so I smiled and even with what happened next I never wanna lose that trusting naivety, the belief that people are inherently good. I headed for the door towards the adjoining carriage where I knew there were people but one of them blocked the doorway and the other came behind me and they both pushed me down onto the seating at the side. They both pulled out weapons, one was a knife but the other was more like screwdriver, it was quite threatening. It was a surreal moment when they told me to hand over my phone and cash, as if it wasn't really happening to me, like I was observing from outside. It's hard to know how to react in such a situation and from this point I was kind of in auto pilot mode. I didn't want to give up my stuff just like that, rightly or wrongly, so I put up a fight and they stabbed me a few times in the arms and legs and hand and I struggled for a good three or four minutes, though it seemed like an eternity! One of them had his arm around my back the other had me across the throat so I managed to get to his arm and I bit into him as hard as I could, I remember waking up afterwards in the hospital with blood around my mouth, a bit like a wild animal, so I'd bitten through his flesh. Anyway with all the shouting we were disturbed and a man came through the door and they initially started to run away. I thought I'd got away relatively unscathed until one of them, just as the trains was stopping, ran back and stuck the screwdriver through my back and deep into my lung and then they both got off the train, dropping their tools on the way. I didn't realise the extent of my injuries at this point and I stumbled through the adjoining doors on the train into the other carriage which was full of people. At this point I remember the look on people's faces as I moved towards them, they look scared, backing away as if I was some kind of monster. That's when I realised the extent of my injuries. I collapsed onto the floor the train, unable to move and barely able to breathe.
Although every ounce of my body was telling me to just give up, close my eyes go-to-sleep, a stronger force was telling me something different. I had an image of my father who died a few years ago and I also had an image of my nieces and I got this feeling that it wasn't my time to go. It was a peaceful feeling and I do believe it came from God as at the time I was praying for the people who stabbed me, for forgiveness so that I could leave the world without any bitterness towards anyone. There was a sense that my dad died having left a legacy of a great man and a gentle man which is accurate and then also a sense that that my life wasn't done yet despite me having a weird security that if I was to go here on the floor of the train then so be it. The conclusion was not even something conscious, I wasn't capable of making rational decisions or looking at this situation with any sense of reason, I was dying and I knew it but I also knew that I wasn't gone yet and suddenly I knew it would be ok. It wasn't time for me, I had more to do in this life and I guess at the time that was focussed on being a good uncle, son and brother to the remaining members of my family and of course a good friend and a positive influence to those around me. My family have faced enough grief recently, losing my Dad and my Gran and I wasn't going to add to that if I could help it. It's weird to me that I could rationalise all this despite the state I was in but that's how it was. The message I got was just keep breathing, simple as that keep breathing and keep my eyes open. It's all I could do just to stay alive. From this point on I was at the mercy of the people around. I just saw a lot of shapes and I could hear lots of chattering and a few concerned voices. Something that was quite poignant but at the time scared me was the negative things that I heard somebody say 'it's a whitey, leave him'. Then another added 'but he's a human like the rest of us' This shocked me not because I'm naïve and aren't aware of racial discrimination but because I never expected it and I pride myself on treating people as equals regardless of anything. It doesn't bother me now because I do know that's the way things are in this country but at the time it just added to my fear. I just had to trust God to guide people to do the right thing and to put the right people in my path. I was totally powerless so it was quite simple, I was to live or die by what happened next, my control of the situation was gone, I was literally unable to save myself.
That's what happened and I did survive! It was touch and go for 24 hours but the healing process has been incredible and I will continue where I left off in my next instalment. I've certainly been given a fresh approach on life and what's important so that's a positive I guess?! I'm going away again for another relaxing weekend with my girlfriend. I tell people that it's part of my recuperation but if I'm totally honest I just enjoy nice hotels, great food and the company that comes with it! It's not all bad, in fact, it's mostly good with the occasional bad bit when I continue being the alcoholfreeme.com
If you or a loved one needs rehab or recovery from any addiction you can contact me at CapeRecovery SA or CapeRecovery UK.