January 19, 2008
By Derek Ithen, Broomall, PA

“I feel like I’ve got this thing on my chest,” Jerry says, as he gave me a grim look.
“What do you mean?” I ask my brother, perplexed.

“I mean, I just have this nagging feeling, you know, like there’s something I should be doing right now, and I’m just not doing it.”

“You have any idea what it is?”

“Sadly, I do.”

Jerry got up from his chair and walked to the open window. He stared at the scenery. It was grain, we were in farm country. He glanced down at the wooden floor and then wiped his forehead with a simple swipe of the arm.

“Don’tcha got at least a fan or something here?” he asked me casually.

“Nah, sorry, money’s been tight,” I tell him. He looks away from me and back out of the window. I wondered what was getting to him. He seemed disturbed, like there was something he needed to do, something he didn’t want to do, but something he had to do.

“I’ve got to put Jessie down,” he said without looking away from the dry scenery. I didn’t respond right away; I was shocked.

“Jessie? Really?”


There was a pause between us. We didn’t know what to say. Jessie was old, but we had always figured she had a good five years left. She was trustworthy. She was magnificent. Why did he have to put her down?

“She’s sick. I should’ve seen it. I’ve been too busy with the rest of the farm to realize it. I was so busy with the farm; I just didn’t see the signs.”

“How do you know she’s sick?”

“She collapsed yesterday, Bobby. She collapsed. I had to call the animal doctor out; I had no clue what had happened.” Jerry looked down and rubbed his eyes.

“If I’d been looking, I’d seen it,” Jerry said to himself. “It was odd really. I had this feeling recently, this nagging feeling, that I should’ve been doing something. I didn’t know what it was about. The feeling grew and grew and then I realized what it was yesterday. It was about Jessie. The feeling was about Jessie. Had I’d only noticed her,” Jerry continued in anguish.

“What’s wrong with her?” I asked.

“She’s cancerous.”

I looked away from my brother. He was in true pain right now. Jessie had been suffering, and he hadn’t realized it. He was torn.

“Could you help me?” he asked me.

“Alright.” We left my house and boarded his truck en route for his farm. The ride was silent. We were left to our thoughts. I couldn’t believe this would be the end of Jessie. She always had seemed so hardy. She had been in my brother’s life for years, and neither one of us thought that her time would be this limited.

We detached ourselves from the truck once it pulled up to the farm. The silence continued as we approached Jessie. She wasn’t moving. She was laying on the ground, emitting a low, inaudible groan.

“Injection?” I asked him.

“No,” he replied softly.

He pulled out his .22. He aimed it at the horse’s head.

“Go to God,” Jerry muttered gently.

He fired the gun.

Jessie was dead.

Jerry felt a little better now.

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