“I may be firing an AK-47 for the first time this weekend, along with some other rifles. I only have experience with handguns. Is there anything I can do or wear to avoid major bruising from the recoil, or should I just buck up and wear my bruises with pride?” – Me on 11/7/2006
“Just like with sex, it’s all in how you mount the weapon. Make sure to keep the rifle tucked into your shoulder’s pocket, the hollow spot just below the collarbone and inside the shoulder joint where there is nothing but muscle. Pull the stock firmly in and blaze away . . .
I never discolor because my gun mount is flawless. Guys that turn black and blue are guys with a poor mount who let the stock slap them in the shoulder with every shot.” – “El Supremo” on 11/7/2006
And then I let go. I let go of one life, one set of experiences, and made room for another place in my heart. I gave my notice at work on Nov. 3, the day after my birthday, and instead of feeling sadness, I tasted blood. I tasted my life, my heart beating . . . the drumbeat calling me to What Comes Next.
This wasn’t right, was it? Every time I’ve left a job, I’ve cried. I get attached to the people I see (at the least) eight hours a day. Due to the nature of some of my jobs over the years, we are thrown together in some emotional situations.
Working events involving the most powerful people in the state. Covering “fatals.” Going to court hearings regarding DUIs, rape charges, spousal abuse. Driving out into the heart of blizzards on country roads to report on nighttime fires.
There are deadlines to meet. Photos to choose. “We have to be sensitive. Does he look too nonchalant in this one? He just killed someone.” “I think that’s perfect. Not a scratch on him, and someone’s dead.”
So, I hold my coworkers and their opinions in high regard. I trust them and they trust me. Next to love, trust is the most essential human connection. So why wasn’t I crying this time? Maybe it’s because all that crying at the beginning wore me out. I shut my door to my coworkers. I never like to have anyone see me cry.
The week I started my new job in January was the week before I would have gotten married had things worked out differently with my ex-fiance. I was moving on. He was flipping out. I went back to work, and he went back to his bottle. I ignored his phone calls, which came every half hour on the half hour from 11 on a Thursday night to 3 o’clock Friday morning.
I knew he had to be drunk to be calling so incessantly. That Friday was the day before we would have gotten married. At 3 a.m., he slipped his key into the door of my apartment, where I lived alone. Uninvited, unannounced and unwanted. He jiggled the key harder on the dark stairway, only to realize I had changed the locks. The door rattled.