It’s been about three years since I last fired a rifle so the shot that rang out nearly knocked me to the ground. From that point, the memory seems like an ancient film: silent, covered in a hazy glow, a romantic thriller that loops back on itself and leaves you bewildered.
My thoughts jumbled, I told myself not to forget. I memorized the trees, the look on Logan’s face, the brush like splinters snagging my pants, the dense heat rolling off our bodies into the calm cool of the approaching dusk. I thought of the people in the Land Cruiser waiting miles away wondering if the echoing shot had made it’s mark. The nyala dropped.
I approached the animal not expecting to find him alive. He breathed deeply and moments later, with one last wide-eyed gaze at this world I witnessed the moment life escaped him. A lung shot according to our tracker, our eyes met and with my hand on his shoulder he settled swiftly into the earth. I felt hyper-aware, the blood pounding in my ears, conscious of a heart that continued to beat on, hovering over another that never would again.
I am the twist you never anticipated, the hero and the villain. Kneeling in the deafening silence of the African bush, somewhere between pride and remorse, I discovered a deep respect for our mortal world.