Understanding the Beast

There was a certain forlorn quality to his call. As I stepped out of my car I expected to see him in some state of debilitation, but he was not. He sat leaning against a great myrtle just off the roadside; far enough from the highway that I would not have noticed him if it wasn’t for that call. My glasses are obsolete, so it took me far longer than it could have to establish what I was seeing. As I discerned he sat patiently as if waiting for me.

I am quite a tall man myself, but he was taller. What I first saw as a long brown jacket, perhaps to protect against the growing wind, was actually a thick coat of fur that covered him head to toe. What I first saw as sunglasses, perhaps to protect his eyes from the unfettered spreading sun, were actually thick set eyes under a heavy brow. He sat with his knees tucked to his chest but an expectantly rigid back. He had an inhuman stare.

He called out again. I wasn’t sure anymore if he was calling to me. He seemed now to be staring off toward the road, aimlessly beckoning. I decided to approach him regardless. The noise he made was unlike anything I’d heard before. My mind raced as I tried to file it somewhere among the many noises in my memory. Perhaps something from a movie? Some sound described in text? In person it seemed alien beyond comprehension, and it defied categorization. I needed to better know its source.

As I continued to approach he began to take notice. He slowly moved up into a crouch, but did not shift from his place under that great tree. When I did not falter in my advance he stood tall. He absolutely towered over me and seemed to unfold and expand into a terrifying figure, hoping to formalize the relationship between us in no uncertain terms.

It was exactly in this position that I could see him the clearest. What I first saw as an animal body under thick feral fur, was actually a familiar human figure and proportions. What I first saw as brutal beast-like eyes, had began to show me fear.

I took him home with me that day. I agreed to co-habitate with that thing, that most would call “it” but I insist on calling “him.” I have yet to work out the details, but I know he at least deserves my respect. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully comprehend him.

Still figuring it out as I go,


A Dream

She came to me in a dream. I don’t mean that in some cliched implication of prophecy. She was no avatar of long lost love. I am perfectly happy with the one that didn’t get away. Even so, she was someone that once meant something to me. A good friend, from a time that I had far more ambition and dreams. I don’t dream much these days. I sleep fully grounded in reality, as if some part of me is enforcing on myself a tether to the concrete.

But there I was, walking across a college campus. It was some intermixture of campuses (campi?) past, the kind of place that exists only in your sleep. As I walked along my little chunk of quad, floating in some indescribed aether, she approached me. Not quite a singular persona, but some allegorical aggregate of friends past. It was as if for a moment I lived again in that space: In that discrete 6 week chunk of summer on that campus so long ago. She was a friend, a fountain of support at a time in my life that I thought I was an island.

In my dream it was as if we had not seen each other in some time. The surroundings were the same, but we were different, like some temporally displaced reunion. With a grateful embrace time scrunched and shuffled until that spacious disparity between us dissolved. I wondered why it had taken us so long to reconnect. I have not talked to her since that summer long ago.

At the time I didn’t realize the effect that those people had on me. I barely held onto them when I had them, so when it was time to say goodbye they easily slipped through my grasp. Looking back, I can see how they affected me; how those people shaped me and propelled me forward. We had yearbooks at that camp, and mine are over-filled with genuine well wishes and memories. At the time I was cynical. Those messages seemed contrived. Reading them now creates for me a new canon. At the time I created a reality for myself where I was confident I was just misunderstood.

I was the one with the misunderstanding.

I realized how much I miss those people. I don’t consider myself someone who has regrets, but I seem to have forgot that for a bit this morning.

With 20/20 hindsight,