While chopping a tree in the woods with his hatchet (a Christmas gift from his mother) a bird he’d never heard before cried out. He jerked his head up and to the right as the hatchet fell down and to the left. It cut deep into the back of his left hand. A low thud didn’t echo in the forest because all the needles and snow absorbed sound well the sound.

When he got back to the house his hand wrapped in the end of his shirt he still felt no pain. He called for his mother and found her watching TV in the main room. He stayed in the kitchen not wanting to get blood on the carpet. She turned around cigarette dangling from her open mouth said “Oh god what happened.”

She drove him to the hospital in the car. The radio stayed off the entire way. Paul wanted to turn it on but he didn’t want the desire not to annoy his mother was stronger. They drove in silence.

At the hospital after the X-rays and stitching and pain medication prescription the doctor said “You got lucky, son. If that axe had hit a half-inch lower you’d have lost your hand. You won’t get full mobility back because we had to tie the tendons, but with therapy you should be able to work it pretty well.”

On the drive back home all he could think was that he was glad he didn’t hit his writing hand.