When I was 9, my father bought me a bee-bee gun.
Several years prior, my family had visited my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Paul in Colorado, who’s a hunter and I had a chance to fire a shotgun.
I was a wimpy kid growing up, and the shotgun scared the shit out of me, and the repurcussive force knocked me on my ass.
It took years before I would consider picking up a firearm again, and the bee-bee gun was much more of a novelty than a weapon of destruction, that I loved the gift.
A year later, in Glendale, Arizona, I was playing target practice with cans in the backyard, when I saw a hummingbird fly to my right across the yard.
Without thinking, I aimed the beebee gun at the hummingbird, squeezed the trigger faster than I really had time to aim.
The bird disappeared. I wasn’t sure if I hit anything, as the birds are so fast, but panic set in as I ran to the bushes to see what I had done.
On the ground, by the bushes was the bird.
It was still alive, barely, as blood flowed out it’s severed right wing, and it didn’t have long to live.
Oh my god did I cry.
As I write this I am getting tears in my eyes.
I picked the bird up, gently, and ran into the house.
“MOM!” I screamed, “Can you save her?”
I don’t why I called the bird a her.
I had blood all over my hands, and the bird’s eyes closed.
“Honey, I can’t. She’s dying. Did you do this?,” she asked
“I did,” I cried. “I did it with the stupid bee-bee gun. “
“You didn’t mean to do this?,” she said, calmly.
I was horrified. Sure I had pointed the gun and pulled the trigger. But did I want to see a beautiful hummingbird dead?
“NOO!,” I cried out loud.
“Honey, I am afraid the bird is dead,” as she started to take her away from me.
I cried more. “No. I have to bury her.”
I was absolutely, positively torn up and sick to my stomach.
Over the next hour, I created a tiny little coffin out of some cardboard I had assembled. From there, I dug a hole off to the side of the house about a foot and a half deep, and then I carefully placed the bird in the hole.
I asked my brother, Jason, and my mom to come out for the last rites as I apologized to the hummingbird for taking it’s life.
To this day, when I see a hummingbird, I cannot help but think just how amazing of creatures they are.
They move with such precision and grace, and do so effortlessly.
And in all honesty, I do not know why I took aim at one and pulled off the impossible shot to take one’s life.
I forgive myself for doing it though.
When I was in the Mojave Desert in August of 2011, in a landscape which looked straight out of the Terminator movie franchise with nuclear bomb craters as far as my eyes could see, I would have rationally dismissed it as a hallucination had it not been for one thing.
I could feel it and smell it.
I’d been used to visual and auditory hallucinations.
Heck, I had been to Amsterdam and been there, done that.
But the hallucinatory experiences were limited to sight and sound alone.
This was different.
The emotions which flooded me in this place were beyond anything I could ever attempt to describe.
I had always wondered where the sense of despair came from in the Terminator movie’s soundtrack. The soundtrack had always managed to evoke a sense of hopelessness in me, and captured what I thought was the emotion of the landscape and tragic setting so… perfectly…
But here I was.
Smelling the smell of a post nuclear landscape, which had the sickening smell which was a combination of burnt skin and hair tinged with wood.
I wanted to throw up when I was first hit by the smell.
And it was about then that I had sincerely thought an evil twin brother had been responsible for where I was. Someone who knew me so perfectly, better than I knew myself, and knew that this horrifying place – a very real location which had previously served as entertainment…
Would become where I found my end.
I felt like the entire drug experience – I had previously referred to as an enjoyable and entertaining ride – I was led to.
I had never really had control of my addiction. I knew that. And that’s what I enjoyed about it. The experience was a roller coaster.
But I never foresaw where I would end up with that ride.
As I ran out of fuel in this morose landscape, I got out of my car and my skin felt like it was hotter than it should have been, despite it being in the middle of the desert. It wasn’t just the top of my skin exposed to the sun that was hot. It was all of my exposed skin.
I remember thinking is radiation I was feeling?
I began to cry.
To say I felt magnificent sorrow is an understatement.
It was as if the emotion that had been portrayed in that movie had been brought to life.
I was – for all intents and purposes – there.
In the real location of the Terminator movie.
It was wonderful.
Of course, I didn’t think so at the time.
I was like a child being given a bike with training wheels for the first time and being taught an invaluable lesson in self-control.
But the pain of this world washed over me like the tide on a beach.
When I tried committing suicide with the dullest knife I could find, I did not want to kill myself.
I wanted to right my wrongs.
I wanted to tell the universe “I do not fully understand, but I am starting to GET IT!”.
My mind creates existence.
I am so SORRY.
Please help me.
I still feel like I am being punished for my naivety and for peeking behind the curtains of creation.
I am not sorry for that.
What I am sorry for is how I had to get there.
And I can sincerely say I didn’t know any better.