I am a murderer. I am infused with power – with fear. I have broken the rules of society. I have taken away what was not mine to rightfully take. I killed him, and I have nobody to blame but myself.
The most excruciating night of my life was the night I said goodbye to my horse. Robin was a stunning blood-bay whose coat gleamed in the sunlight. His kind eyes had watched me grow into the young woman I am today. However, I always thought his heart was his best quality – he had been my best friend for four years, and he never failed to take care of me. After every jump and every fall, Robin never once did anything but try to keep me safe. When he collicked severely, we took him to the UGA vet hospital, and I chose to euthanize him.
As I walked away from the hospital that night, I noted my appearance. My hair was matted from sweat. My skin reminded me of a beat-up car, caked with enough dust that “wash me” has been fingered upon the window. It was my jeans that really stuck out, though. The kneecaps were bloodied a crimson-red from where I had knelt to give him his last hug. They were my proof that I had killed him – his blood stained my skin, marking me guilty.
The next morning, I woke to a pile of neatly-folded laundry. A ghost of the last night’s pain rose in my chest – my jeans were at the bottom of the stack. Clumsily, I tore them from the pile and shook them out. Clean. The stains were gone. I fell into a fit of hysteria as I mourned the loss of Robin’s blood on my clothes.
Robin taught me to believe in consequence. Guilt will always echo in every footstep I take. When my jeans washed clean, it was not the stains I mourned, but what they symbolized: I was guilty, and I wanted the world to know. I believe that our past experiences make us who we truly are. While some people run away from their actions, I choose to wear mine. I see kids in my school run away from their grades, run away from their problems – maybe they think if they don’t acknowledge them, they don’t exist. But I now know that consequence is not about what others know that I have done, but what I know that I have done. The guilt and consequence of Robin’s death has shaped me as a person, and that is what consequence is truly about – using our past experiences to shape our future. I will never forgive myself for taking the life of my horse, but I know that I will stand a little taller, walk a little straighter, and be a little wiser, for accepting my consequences has made me a better person.
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