Daughter Naomi looked at me the way only daughter Naomi can look at me: “So what is the life lesson, and are you going to write a blog about this?” she said. Revealing that she knew her mother so much better than I was comfortable with.
I had just told her that on my way to a meeting today, a deer jumped over a fence on the highway and landed on the side of my small Hyundai. This was the deer’s bane. My Hyundai suffered too.
It happened so fast it took me 20 meters to realise I had just killed one of God’s precious creations. It took me 20 seconds before I thought: “What am I going to do with a dying deer that is in the middle of the highway?”
I stopped the car and walked outside. There, on the ground it was. Twitching in pain. Blood coming from it’s broken legs. I felt like a criminal. What had I done? I also knew that I was not done doing. The deer had to die all the way, and since the last thing it did was to hit my car, I was the one responsible to end its misery. Which I could not do. I can’t kill flies, spiders or bees. I can’t see a fish get whacked in the head without deciding to become a vegetarian. How was I going to kill a dying deer?
The rescue came in the form of an army truck full of Swedish soldiers. Swedish soldiers. They stopped their truck in front of the dying deer, and out came the most handsome of them all. He was tall, strong and had a very kind voice. He may have been my age. With tenderness in his eyes he looked at me and saw how distraught I was. “Did you do this?” he asked, but I did not feel like he judged me. “Yes,” said I and looked down. “Tell you what. If you take care of the legal stuff, I will take care of the animal. I am a hunter, and I know how to do this. Don’t worry.” I wanted to hug him. Instead I said I would deal with the legal stuff. Suddenly more Swedish men appeared. They had all been in the truck, apparently. They all came and looked at me with concern in their eyes. They asked: “Are you OK? Will you be OK? How are you doing?” Some of them were young enough to be my sons, and still, they wanted to take care of me. In a way I was happy I had hit the deer.
The hunter brought his hunter knife out and walked over to the dying deer. Gently, gently he slit its throat and let it out of his misery. I was so sad. The little deer didn’t deserve to die. It was all because of the crazy politicians. There ought not to be roads and cars where deer fared. At the same time: How would I have met the Swedish army men if there had not been roads?
When the deer was dead, they carried it to the side of the road and I got to say goodbye to it. I also looked the Swedish men in the eyes and thanked them from the bottom of my heart. I promised myself that I would never, ever again tell Swedish jokes, nor would I want the Swedes to lose at cross country skiing. I thought that of all the men in the world, I like the Swedish men the most.
Then I called the police who wrote a small report about what had just taken place and promised to come back and pick up the dead deer. They did not say that the deer would get a proper burial, but I didn’t think that mattered.
I was a little shook up. I have to admit I was. I have never killed anything before. And the only damage I have done to our car was backing into a telephone pole. I tried to think about what the meaning of it all was, but I haven’t really decided what it could be. I didn’t drive too fast. I was observant. I was not texting, and I had slept well the previous night. The deer, on the other side, came running from a gas station. I decided that, really, the deer should have known better. What was it doing at a gas station anyway?
So, the life lesson, Naomi, is this: If you ever hit a deer on the highway, pray that a truck of Swedes is right behind you.