I watched the television, all of thirteen years-old, as Jack Kavorkian walked into the courthouse.

“Send him to jail.” I dismissed.

My dad’s godfather took off his oxygen mask and looked at me.

“You don’t know what it feels like.”

I didn’t.

I never took hunting seriously until after college. I hiked, I tracked, I grew up in the woods, but I’d never harvested a deer. 

The first buck I killed, I shot while it was running from me. I found it in the meadow, laying on the ground panting. I took out my pistol.

I didn’t know what it felt like, to hurt like it did. I watched as I stopped it.

I walked back to camp and told our friend Jeff and my grandpa: “I shot a buck. I need help bringing it back.”

Jeff came with me and walked me through cleaning it, helped me carry it back to camp. We took a photo that I kept on my desk; with my graduation photo; with my wedding photo. A once in a lifetime event.

I heard him on my parent’s porch a few weeks later.

“When he came back to camp, you could tell he was excited. On his face though, you could see he felt bad for killing it. ”

I didn’t know what it felt like.

Mom and I stood in the kitchen trading stories.

“I needed to tell you…but I didn’t when it happened. Jeff died. I didn’t tell you because…well, because…”

What do you do when a moment changes; when a picture captures two points in time; when you make and lose a friend; when an accomplishment is a final memory?

When two choices split the same moment into a bittersweet scar you’d drink to stop thinking about, do you put the picture in your desk? I used my finger to wipe the dust off the frame.

I didn’t know what it felt like.

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