The Wild is Always There

August afternoons slip hastily into night, the heat of the days draining away into crisp evenings. Each day climbs, with dreadful speed, towards fall and winter.
Curled up in bed, under the glow of lamplight, swallowed up in a book and perhaps a cup of tea, the chirp and howl of coyotes flickers in the distance. A chill slides in through the open window, tucking me further into bed. Outside, on the fringes of the evening, the eerie cackling and melancholy wail circles and floats through the air, a reminder that the wild is always there.
In the light of day, mundane activities bring a sense of comfort. Routine and order, cleaning, cooking, the occasional joyful indulgence, reading a good book in the sun, dozing lazily.
I fold laundry on the bed, watching a horror film, something that’s always been an escape for me, the safe, exciting thrill of immaterial scares. I smell the freshly mown grass and the warm, homey scent of fabric softener, occasionally stopping to breathe in the aroma of the towels. I reach for my tea on the nightstand and, as if splashed with icy water, I feel struck with an image of a book on the table. In my mind’s eye, I see What To Expect When You’re Expecting, the hulking reference I stored here, reading before bed and each morning, cracking it open week after week to smile over the comparisons of size. The baby inside my womb compared to a blueberry, a grape, a cherry, a lemon, a grapefruit; a weekly addition to the comical fruit salad analogy. I picture pouring over each chapter, flipping pages ahead to imagine weeks to come. I see myself picking up a pile of crumpled tear streaked tissues and this manual, and, with a broken heart, returning it to the bottom shelf in the living room, far from this bed where it may infuse my dreams with unattainable hopes. I tucked it away with the ultrasound photos, the only images I would ever have of this lost life.
My breath caught in my lungs like a rabbit in a trap, struggling and kicking to be free. My heart contracted and tears seeped into my eyes. I sobbed, gasping, shuddering. That other me, the one unveiled at the culmination of this tragedy, the one I try to distance myself from, burst forth, feral, uncontrollable, a visceral being desperate only for survival. It flailed and thrashed, claws out, shredding the walls and the blankets, ripping apart the thin veneer of calm and ease. It howled out into the air with a mournful, wild sound. I wept and clung to my firefly charm, whimpering pathetically, small, animalistic noises spilling from my lungs.
Within minutes, the tears subsided. My breaths slowed, my heart eased itself to a regular rhythm, a steady beat. I continued to fold the laundry, quickly returning my mind to the task at hand, centering myself in the world again, centered within myself, back in control.
That other me, tucks itself back inside, satisfied, having been indulged enough for now. It curls up, under my heart to hibernate, sleeping deeply until it is roused from calm slumber again to rush into the world with fury and anguish.
A sense of regularity and even serenity had returned, but with a reminder that, waiting on the edges, looming in the wings, the wild is always there.


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