By P. Berman & K. Hecht, & A. Hosack
Drive the bus? Is that all?
Larry walked slowly out of the Abbot’s room, in a daze about what was really going on. Surely, the Abbot would want more from him than just to drive the bus to be fixed. Was this for real? Did he understand what was going on?
Larry felt safe at the monastery, but he often found himself in a state of confusion; He didn’t understand how things worked in a religious community. Nothing seemed to work as he expected it to. Even at the beginning things had changed quickly. First, he was just taking the bus to Cincinnati and then he was going to get off and disappear into the city. Seeing the gang car doggedly following him had changed that plan. Then, Larry planned to hide out at the monastery until the gang had forgotten all about him.
Was he just hiding out? Was he living? Could he be freely living for the first time in his life?
It had only been a few weeks. Still, bit by bit, Larry had shifted his entire viewpoint. Slowly but surely, he had been making a home for himself at the monastery- without realizing it. The next day, lighthearted, Larry and Ted got into the bus to drive it to the body shop so that it could finally receive the complete overhaul it needed. Larry was driving and Ted was giving directions when Martin caught sight of them.
Martin had been sitting outside the monastery for a week waiting for news of Larry. He was bored. Angry. Restless. He didn’t want to be the person who got Larry killed but he was not willing to save Larry at the expense of his own family. Martin was knocked out of his despairing thoughts by the site of the monastery bus pulling out into the driveway. This was the first sign of life that Martin had seen so he followed the bus as it wove its way through traffic until it finally pulled into a body shop.
Is Larry in that bus? Have I wasted my time? No, there he is.
Martin didn’t know if he should feel relieved or not. He was tired of his stakeout. But, seeing Larry meant it was time to take action. Martin called the gang and the plan was set in motion. It didn’t take long before a gang truck was parked alongside the alley that ran past the body shop. Martin’s job was to distract Larry as he drove the bus out of the body shop. He did it well. There was one instant, when Larry’s eyes had met his before the truck had bashed into Larry side of the bus and then driven away.
Martin was in shock. The bus was nothing but scrap now. Martin had thought the truck was just going to wedge the bus in. He had thought the plan was to kidnap Larry. Martin stared at the wreck on the street.
Could Larry still be alive?
Martin’s car became wedged into a huge traffic jam as fire trucks and police seem to arrive from out of nowhere. Martin was supposed to quickly disappear from the sight of the accident -but he had been in shock. Now, he could think again but he couldn’t get away without abandoning the car. He just sat where he was – tortured by thoughts of Larry’s mutilated body in the bus. He had brought Larry into the gang with the best of intentions. Why did Larry have to run? Sure, selling drugs to kids was a downer but still- he owed the gang.
Ted was unable to move a muscle. The metal of the car kept him immobile. He could see Larry out of the corner of his eye. It didn’t look good.
That should have been me. If I wasn’t such a coward, Larry wouldn’t have even been in the vehicle at all. I owe this guy my life.
The accident was not Ted’s fault. He didn’t know it, but it wasn’t even an accident. Larry’s injuries were intentional payback from the gang. However, Ted is showing signs of “survivor’s guilt. Have you ever blamed yourself for something that is not your fault?
Have you known anyone to punish themselves for something that they couldn’t have prevented?
To read about how you could recognize the warning signs of survivor’s guilt, and steps you could take to help yourself or someone else go to: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201801/what-everybody-should-know-about-survivors-guilt