Archive for July 2016

The Warrior   2 comments

He stood where I was used to seeing him. As usual he gave no indication of being aware of me. I felt sheepish, but took a deep breath and plunged on. ‘Hi, I’m Suz.’ Silence. ‘I just wanted to – um – say hello. Introduce myself.’ Still nothing. ‘Okay. Have a nice day,’ I managed, and foxtrotted away.

The next day it was as if he hadn’t moved. This time I said nothing, just paused next to him for a few moments, let myself get absorbed in the pastoral scene ahead of us, then nodded to him and went on about my day.

This continued for a long time, until it became the norm. At some point I stopped feeling ignored. The silence became what we did, no judgment attached. I honestly don’t remember how long it was before I felt his eyes actually focus on me for the first time. And it wasn’t for long. I saw him see me, and just for a moment his eyes crinkled merrily at me, and then it was back to the pleasant complete disassociation with my presence.

Don’t you love eyes that crinkle like that when they smile?

From that time I stopped having even the slightest angst about whether or not he would ever actually speak to me. We shared the same space for a little time on most days, and that was enough.

I got in the habit of leaning on him sometimes, just lightly. He’s big, and sometimes it’s windy. I don’t remember for sure if it was wind that prompted it. But it felt natural, and he was clearly fine with it.

In a summer dusk I stood close, but not touching him. We were watching the fireflies spiral up like sparks from a bonfire, up from the shaggy grass and into the soft dark tree line. The stars weren’t out yet, and the sky was a vivid unsettling mauve. A finger tentatively touched my hair and withdrew.

‘Hello,’ he murmured. I smiled into the twilight and didn’t reply.

The stars came forward. The night breathed in. As I turned to go I felt that little touch again.

‘Good night,’ I said.

One autumn evening I found him on his knees peering myopically at the grass. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked as I approached.

He blinked at me. ‘You see close things better than I,’ he said. ‘Do you see something here?’

I knelt down beside him. The chilly grass around us was alight with dying fireflies, gleaming and fading so slowly. I told him what they were, and we knelt there together for a while, our knees getting soaked.

‘Why are they here?’ he asked me at last.

‘Maybe they like you,’ I replied. ‘Be in the presence of those in whose company you’d be proud to die and so forth.’

His brows twitched, then smoothed.

We danced together in the full moonlight of winter. At least I danced, while he hummed and swayed as I twirled breathlessly around him. I stopped, panting, my hands on my knees, and threw back my head to look up at the sky. He was staring down at me with two moon-shaped possum eyes. I shrieked and clutched my chest.

‘What the hell?’ I demanded.

He grinned a white feral grin.

One fine spring day I found him splendidly decked out, preening as I approached.

‘Whoa,’ I said admiringly. ‘Nice.’

As I got closer I got a whiff of something pungent. ‘Dude! You may want to rethink that fragrance.’

His eyebrows shot up, then drew together.

‘Why does everyone say that?’ he said, half to himself. He sniffed, hunched a shoulder at me. ‘I like it.’ And I got no more out of him that day.

I ran up to him in the rain, thrumming with excitement, so eager to share my good news that I didn’t care about the cool drizzle plastering my hair in soggy strands across my face.

‘Guess what?’ I shouted as I neared him. He was staring off over the heads of the trees, eyes unfocused.

‘Hey!’ I skidded to a stop in front of him. He didn’t look at me. ‘Hey,’ I said again, patting, then tapping, then thumping on his shoulder.

No response. Finally I stalked away, half expecting or hoping that he would call after me. But he didn’t.

‘What’s your name?’ I asked him not long after he began speaking to me. It was one of many questions I asked him to which he did not reply. Long after I had given up hoping for an answer he said thoughtfully, ‘Tyr,’ as we watched a herd of deer drift like ghosts across the pasture.

I was watching the lame doe lurch after one of her recalcitrant twins. ‘What?’ I said, wincing.

‘You can call me Tyr,’ he replied.

I stopped watching the deer and gaped at him. ‘Is that your name?’

He crinkled his eyes at me. ‘No. It’ll do, though.’

Most of the time he’s maddeningly laconic. But sometimes he surprises me. We spent the better part of one Summer Solstice night arguing the difference between introspection and narcissism, and how xenia and common courtesy affect them both. I can’t even remember now who took what positions, but after the discussion heated up and cooled down I whacked him in the ribs and told him he was an inflexible ogre, and he poked me in the belly and called me a callow dilettante. We grinned at each other.

I sighed one day as we stood together. ‘What’s wrong?’ he asked.

I thought about it. ‘I don’t know,’ I said.

He contemplated me for a while. ‘You miss your kids,’ he pronounced.

I was taken aback. ‘I don’t know if that’s it.’

‘Yes,’ he said. He put his arm around me. I leaned into his trunk. A few tender leaves brushed my cheek.

Bees buzzed in the clover at our feet.

Posted July 1, 2016 by suzmuse in Uncategorized