Saturday, May 15, 2010

Witness to Myself

By Seymour Shubin

As a child, Alan had it pretty good. His parents had a solid marriage, his dad was successful and they both loved their son. When Alan was a teen, he felt confused and unhappy and dissatisfied, like many kids his age. Alan had a bit of a cruel streak so one day, while on vacation with his parents, he encountered a girl alone on a trail in the woods and he tried to fondle her. She resisted and he choked her and dropped her to the ground, unmoving. He didn't know if she was dead or alive and he didn't stay to find out.
After that he lived in fear of someone discovering what he had done. He tried to keep a low profile, living quietly and discretely, never trying to draw attention to himself. Years passed and he became a successful lawyer. Then he met a woman, a woman he really liked and with whom he wanted to build a future. But he didn't feel he could move in to this future without knowing if the girl he attacked had survived their encounter.
So Alan set out to find out what had really happened but his attempt to gather info on the crime has drawn the attention of the last people he wanted to attract: the police.

This was a sad story about a guy who did something really bad but doesn't really seem to be a bad guy. He let shame and fear dictate his actions and eventually guilt drove him over the edge. He was a guy who looked good from the outside, smart and successful with an enviable life but inside something was seriously lacking in his character. Nevertheless, he was a sympathetic character whose slow destruction left this reader feeling sad at the end. Still, despite the grim outcome, it was a pretty interesting read.

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