Hindsight 20/Something: Run (Donovan, 25)

by austin beaton

Run (Donovan, 25)

I remember the windows throughout the house were open, the light breeze of the valley sang with the wind chimes outside, and the birds danced between oak and black cottonwood trees. My family had gone on a camping trip, and I had opted to stay behind. The house was completely empty. Sitting on the carpet floor replete with dog hair, I was trembling with fear.

In one hand I had my cell phone, and in the other was my Uncle’s knife. It was pressed to my neck. Fuck.

The knife was cold on skin. I held it there loosely, not enough to draw blood, but enough to feel the trembling from my hand vibrate through my pulsating carotid artery. At the time I had a lot of negative thoughts bouncing around my maybe fully developed frontal cortex. This was the same hunting knife that my Uncle gave me a few years ago. He had been living at my parents house when he handed it to me:

He was drunk. We sat on the porch and talked for awhile, the same way he and my dad used to: a Hamm’s beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other. Only this time he didn’t seem as fun. He didn’t seem so invincible. At the time I didn’t really know how to talk to a grown man who told me his issues. I guess I just figured that kids talked to the grown ups about their issues because they had it all figured out, not the other way around.

A few days later I got a call that he killed himself.

This is an excerpt from Run, an essay by Donovan McFarland in Hindsight 20/Something, a collection of perspectives on the quarter-life crisis. Read the full version and learn more about the collection here.