Born homesick

Two animals pressed upon the opposite walls of a cage. There is no rest yet. There is only mistrust. What a way to start this.

I snarl and so do you.

You lash out at me and I slash back.

We, neither of us, leave our sides of the invisible line.

You grind your teeth and I roll my eyes. Our claws are out, our fangs: bared.

Then the moon comes out from behind the clouds and somehow our shoulders melt a little lower on our back. The suspicious turn to interest and we exchange a few words of trust. Of truce.

We learn we are on the same side of the invisible line.
We learn we both want what we have never had before.
We learn we both ache in a way that has never ceased.
We learn we both have never had rest for very long.
We learn we are more alike that we would care to be.
And so different still.

I cannot cage my animal for long. You cannot either. But this time the snarling is a little softer and the growling ceases faster. We get closer to the invisible line. We step, gently, towards one another.

I am suspicious and you are mistrustful and together we make two of a kind. But I see, so slowly, as my hackles stand on end; that it is not you I am suspicious of but that you will be exactly the same as the others. And you, your mistrust is not of me but of what you have known before. Finally the line melts and we make contact. Our backs are pressed together facing outward at the horizon; connection made and a pack formed.

I have never known another animal like me. I have not seen what I feel in another eyes.

But I can feel you breathing now, the press of your scapula against mine and the ribcages rippling like two xylophones in a symphony. Together we make new music. It is dissonant and strange, but it is true and real and finally, I feel, finally I may not be alone in the way I thought I always would be.

I don’t need to hide any longer what I truly am. And in fact, it seems you like the animal you’ve stepped into the ring with.

I realize the snarl from earlier is a smile. And I howl in communion with your joy.

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