Walk with the wolf

  When I woke up, I was curled up like a seed. My hands are between my knees, and my face is pressed against the moist soil. The morning dew condensed on my skin like a thick, shiny fur. On my shoulder is a yellow and black potato beetle. There must be more than one bug on my stomach, but I can’t feel the tickling sensation of other bugs’ feet crawling on me.
  I can’t feel anything, really.
  I do it every time I wake up. I can’t feel anything, because I haven’t tried to move my body yet. And when I want to move my body, the pain comes. Every time the pain comes suddenly-hips, shoulders, spine, thighs, or hands. Sometimes, the muscles between the ribs are very painful, and every breath makes me feel heartbreaking.
  But as long as I don’t move, my whole body is still numb. I stay still as long as possible. I want this numbness to fill my whole body and mind. I know I should not have extravagant hopes, but anyway, I still hope-maybe today, I can keep that numbness. Maybe today will be a day without pain.
  But not today. It won’t be tomorrow. I took a deep breath. The tremor affected some dewdrops. They slid and gathered on my skin, getting bigger and bigger, and finally rolled to the ground.
  I really hope to go back to yesterday right now. I wish I could be a wolf all the time. But my mother always tells me not to indulge myself too much. She taught me that avoiding another self is a sign of laziness. This is too selfish, she said, selfishness always pays. There has never been a free redemption. Every time I turn into a wolf, it means that the part of my self that belongs to the human is going away, and my body won’t hurt. But the longer I “go away”, the more guilt I will feel when I recover my human form.
  This time he turned into a wolf for a week. There was no pain for a whole week.
  I curled up in the fallen leaves as long as possible, not knowing what consequences were waiting for me.
  Footsteps sounded by the potato field. The footsteps were very loud, rustling in the dead leaves of the hemlock tree that had fallen out overnight. The footsteps are too heavy, unlike my best friend Yana, she walks quietly like a deer, unless she is angry with you for something. It’s also not like Yana’s sister Anicole, which made me sigh of relief, because every time Anicole spotted me in a potato field, she would scream in her throat, even though she had encountered this a dozen times. Up.
  So, the footsteps belonged to Yana’s father.
  ”Seuss, is that you?” Argod called softly. I curled my body deeper into the mud. I hate being discovered by him.
  ”It’s me.” I replied. I can hear the sound of his left and right feet shifting the center of gravity. I stood up as quickly as possible, although it was not fast at all. Today the pain is in the hips and shoulders. I turned my neck back and forth, and my thick black hair swept across my shoulders, sweeping away another potato beetle. The shoulder pain may only be caused by sleeping in the potato field, but the pain is worse in the buttocks. The pain is like a tuft of thin white leek roots, piercing deeply into my thigh muscles.
  It will hurt all day. The pain gets worse after nightfall. I don’t have time to care about the pain, not today; but I don’t think my hips care what I think.
  I walked out of the potato field cautiously. Argo was standing with his back to me, his shoulders tight. He grabbed the cloak and handed it out slightly to make it easier for me to hold it so that he could avoid seeing my body. I grabbed my cloak and wrapped it around myself, sniffing the familiar smell of wool. I cleared my throat, and Argo turned around and smiled at me.
  ”How bad is it this time?” I asked Argo, but he just patted me on the shoulder, his embarrassment, as if I was still naked.
  ”It’s not too bad,” he said vaguely, but his smile told me that it wasn’t. It was actually terrible. Following him back to the village, we only got home a few seconds before my suspicion was confirmed. Yana was walking out holding a bundle of clothes, and she nodded at me calmly.
  ”Three chickens, two yards, a drug store, and maybe a goat.” She spit out these words as a greeting.
  ”Maybe there is another goat, what does it mean?”
  She shrugged: “You know what Nan Gideon is. She has a sheep that was half dead for a while, and she died while you were’going away’, so she told the big guy that you killed him. It. ”
  Far away is the term we set up many years ago, when we argued about how to talk about the time when I became a wolf. Yana once used the phrase “you are not you”, but I told her that it was wrong. When I became a wolf, I was still myself, even though I was missing something that others would think of when they thought of me; even if I was missing the most important thing that would be thought of when thinking of myself. But I am still myself.
  ”Nan Gideon is terrible.” I muttered, walking from behind the shoulder-high pyre to Yana’s bed. Stacked wood separates her from Annick’s bed and Argo’s bed, so that everyone can sleep around the stove instead of going to bed. If someone wakes up from the cold at night, it can be very convenient. Get up to add firewood. Yana’s bed is covered with a blanket and soft straw underneath. The bed is as high as my knee. I really want to get in and lie down all day. Pain makes me exhausted, especially when I have been away for too long and have become accustomed to a painless wolf body.
  But I don’t have time to rest in Yana’s bed, just like I don’t have time to nap in a potato field. I have to apologize. I have to compensate for the loss.
  I put on Yana’s underwear and clothes. When making these clothes, you must first beat out the flax thread with a stone, weave it into a cloth, and then soak the linen many times to make them soft as clover. After getting dressed, I put on an apron specially designed for visiting. The color of the apron is brown with white flowers on the hem, which I sewed myself before. My hands are now too stiff to pinch the needle and thread for a long time, so I can only make small stitches. Yana raised her eyebrows at me silently, and when I nodded, she quickly fastened my apron. Her fingers were very smart. I don’t need her help—I can wear an apron myself—but it would be nice to let me rest, because she knows there are many troubles waiting for me today. Except for her, I will not accept anyone to help me like this. This is largely because she always asks. She never thought I needed her help; but as long as I spoke, she would do everything for me without reservation.
  Yana pressed her forehead to my forehead, her thick black curly hair wrapped around my face. Her hair smelled of sweet oil applied before going to bed (Annie also applied it); her breath smelled of cloves. I love her to death.
  ”How is it today?” she asked in a soft voice, so soft that only the two of us could hear it. She knows that I don’t like to let everyone know my personal affairs. But a strange species that would turn into a wolf from time to time and run into the village to wreak havoc would inevitably attract the attention of others.
  ”Very bad.” I whispered briefly, “Hips and shoulders.”
  ”What about the fingers?” She asked again, “What about the knees?”
  ”It’s okay.” I replied, smiling again, “for now Okay.”

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