• “this,” i said when I saw what it was. “this is….” it was reverence. it was grace. it was beauty. i wondered if this meant i could finally breathe. like i had found my place in this world i didn’t understand. embroidered. red. white. blue. two letters, stitched perfectly. ox, the work shirt read. like i mattered. like i meant something. like i was important. men don’t cry. my daddy taught me that. men don’t cry because they don’t have time to cry. i must not have been a man yet because i cried. i bowed my head and cried.
    • and gordo put his forehead to mine and said, “you belong to us now.” something bloomed within me and i was warm. it was like the sun had burst in my chest and i felt more alive than i had in a long time.
    • “mom! mom. you have to smell him! it’s like… like… i don’t even know what it’s like! i was walking in the woods to scope out our territory so i could be like dad and then it was like… whoa. and then he was all standing there and he didn’t see me at first because i’m getting so good at hunting. i was all like rawr and grr but then i smelled it again and it was him and it was all ka­boom! i don’t even know! i don’t even know! you gotta smell him and then tell me why it’s all candy canes and pinecones and epic and awesome.”
    • and then he said, “i just want to get you a present,” so i said, “you already did,” and i didn’t think i’d ever seen a smile as bright as his at that moment.
    • alpha meant father. (you are my son.) it meant safety. it meant home.
    • “though sometimes, the songs are meant to sing a pack member home. it’s easy to get lost, ox, because the world is a wide and scary place. and every now and then, you just have to be reminded of the way home.”
    • i couldn’t find the words to say what i wanted. sometimes, when your heart gets so full, it takes away your voice and all you can do is hold on for dear life.
    • “i don’t mind being lonely when my heart tells me you are lonely too.”
    • i said, “i love you, you know?” and how he smiled.
    • and the moon. ah god, the moon. i wished it was full. because full moons were my favorite kind of moons. joe’s face came and blocked it away. i decided that was okay, because i loved his face more than i could ever love the moon.
    • there was another house. an old house. a house once saddened by the cowardice of a father. a house made whole by the love of wolves. the blood on the floor, hidden from sight but buried in the bones. she had laughed here. she had popped soap bubbles here. she had sat at a table and told me we’d be all right, she’d showed me that we’d both be all right.
    • “you’re big, ox. bigger than i’ve ever seen before. bigger than me. than my father. but it makes sense, you know? because that’s how you’ve always been to me. bigger than anything else. the day I saw you, i knew things would never be the same. you’re all- encompassing. you dwarf everything else. when i see you, ox, all i see is you.”
feb 27 2020 ∞
feb 27 2020 +