I’m a 43-year-old mustached, quiet father that looks like a lumberjack. I used to be a talkative, wiry teenager who liked death metal and soccer. About halfway between these two identities I stabbed a man and watched him bleed out.
It was 1995 and my wife and I had just had our first daughter. We were living in Mexico at the time since I was offered my first management job if I moved and my wife wanted to be close to her family there.
Mexico is a beautiful country, highly recommend you visit
It was a Sunday in late Fall. We went to my Mother in Law’s house for dinner which was an 8 minute walk from our own. The evening was enjoyable; we had chicken and rice. My wife and I decided to walk home before it got dark.
We took the main streets the whole way, except for one long street that was more like a wide alley but it was the best shortcut through the neighborhood. We stepped into the street. I noticed a small person in a dress crouching in the distance. My family and I walked and met the person halfway down the street. She was muttering something quietly. I moved in front of my wife. We walked past her and I relaxed.
Then the woman grabbed my wife by her hair. My wife crouched forward, clutching my daughter and yelled out. My heart stopped as I saw the woman holding my wife by the hair pull out a knife. I grabbed the woman’s forearms. She let go of my wife and focused on me as I struggled to keep the knife in her hand from plunging into me. Looking at her face I realized it was a man and he was much stronger than me.
I yelled for my wife to run and get help. She ran towards our house with my daughter in her arms.
Eventually he forced me backwards with a push and plunged the knife deep into my left bicep as I stumbled. I fell to the ground screaming and didn’t register the knife was still in me because it just felt like he’d punched me rather than stabbed me. The man started running down the alley, after my wife.
On autopilot, I got up and ran, knife still in arm. He was at the end of the alley, looking around. He heard me coming and turned to look at me.
I didn’t think. I pulled the knife out of my arm and stabbed him in the chest as he turned around. He fell to the ground.
I sat on the ground, watching him gasp while cradling my bleeding arm. He died, police arrived, I felt nothing.
After the hospital, during the questioning, the investigator asked why I stabbed the man. He couldn’t have known where my family lived since he was looking around when I caught up to him and police could have found him later since he was in a soiled dress. He said it was a needless death of an unidentifiable man who was probably just trying to mug us.
I had no response.
15 years later, I still felt as numb as the day I watched that man pass away. My daughter and I were distant. It was my fault since I didn’t know how to relate to her. And she was into all the things teenagers were into: Boy bands, makeup, cell phones and anime
I will never understand her fascination with this young man. I hope she grows out of it
I knew I couldn’t relate to her with boy bands or makeup but maybe I could try anime. My daughter thought I was making fun of her until I sat down and watched two episodes of Inuyasha with her.
I wasn’t very keen on the show and she felt awkward watching it with me. She suggested other shows and we began watching shows like Code Geass and Cowboy Bebop.
I liked those shows and I had fun watching with her. Code Geass really got us talking. I remember when my daughter sent me all these Euphemia jokes people had made. I was so thankful for those silly texts since it was the first time she’d messaged me on my phone for fun. As a parent, seeing your child actually wanting to be with you or talk to you means the world to you. It really hit my heart and makes me choke up even as I write this.
Stupid stuff like this can somehow make a difference
Then one day I was watching Ruroni Kenshin with my daughter. We were probably halfway through the series and were marathoning a few episodes on the weekend. Watching him struggle with the sins he’d committed in the past resonated with me a lot that day.
Watching live action fighting or deaths I always felt numb because it was too realistic. But watching an anime character struggling somehow, I was able to connect and feel the same. Wanting forgiveness but knowing I shouldn’t be forgiven. I started sobbing and couldn’t stop.
My daughter didn’t know what to do so she started crying and called my wife. The next day, when I was more calm, I told her why I cried and about that evening 15 years ago. I was afraid she’d say the generic “I did the right thing” like family and friends had said to me.
She said “Thank you for protecting me and Mom. It must have been really scary.” I felt a weight inside lift, from hearing that and sharing the truth with my daughter.
Things aren’t perfect in my life, but having my family and knowing they accept me is worth more to me than anything else in this world.
I’m thankful for anime because it was something I was able to share with my daughter and led to us being able to be honest with each other.
I encourage any children out there, from young to old, to find something you like to share with your parents. It’s hard being an adult since we’re so focused on the reality of life (taxes, bills, food, work) it’s easy to lose sight of things. Maybe we all need some fantasy in our lives.
Thank you for hearing my story. I’d love to hear your family story as well.