I don’t know how to describe what it felt like in a way that’ll make you understand. I don’t think you can understand what it felt like until you have to talk someone you care about into putting a gun down, which, hopefully, you never will.

Science says that the earth’s atmospheric pressure, at sea level, is 10,000 kilograms per square meter. If you assume that the area from one shoulder to the other on the average human being is equivalent to 0.1 square meters, that’s 1,000 kilograms - or a ton - of pressure pressing down on every one of us at any given time. Not taking into account that the human body is built to withstand atmospheric pressure, that Portland is 50 feet above sea level, and that this is the most convoluted way I could’ve chosen to explain it, the air was so fucking heavy in that moment that I swear I could feel the weight of it crushing down on every fiber of my being, despite the laws of physics. I felt lightheaded, like I was going to pass out. I could somehow taste the metal in my mouth. However, at the same time, it was almost as if she and I were characters in a movie I was watching, and the words I could hear myself speaking belonged to someone else - someone fearless and omniscient, who knew that the outcome of that night would be both of us walking away in one piece, with only yesterday’s scars to remind us of why we did what we did. Ironically, I suppose you could say that by writing this down, I’ve become that person now. Funny how some things come full circle like that.

“Have you lost your fucking mind?” I asked.

“Shut up, Mat. Just shut up, please.” She said.

“No. You’re not a murderer. If he woke up now, you wouldn’t be able to do it. You know you wouldn’t. You would hesitate, like you’re hesitating now, like you’ve been hesitating for however long you’ve been standing there… and he’d take it from you. He’d take it from you and he’d kill both of us. Do you understand?”

“He’s not waking up.”

“If you do this, you’ll spend the rest of your life as a prisoner or as a fugitive. You don’t want that.”

“I want him dead.”

“I know you do. So do I, but you know I’m right. You don’t want to do this. Please. Give me the gun. We’ll get you out of here, okay? Tonight.”


I guess this is as good a place as any to admit that I’ve been trying to reconcile the how for a long time. I’m at the point now where I don’t think I ever will, but I can’t bring myself to regret it either. She meant more to me than the people I hurt. So did I. I don’t know what kind of person that makes me. Probably just the kind of person you think I am.