It’s night time. Dark brown. Behind me there is a small town – I don’t know whether it’s an old town that’s dying or a new town that’s just being born. There are a few street lights, very colorless white with a tiny edge of yellow. From where I stand I cannot see the buildings; they are all behind me. There is also a pickup truck somewhere behind me, and a couple of cars. They belong to people inside the buildings. It’s one of those nights that is neither warm nor cool, and the buildings’ doors are open. Muffled voices, music, laughter come from inside.
I am standing alone outside. In front of me, perpendicular to the buildings, is a road. Concrete, possibly with some lines of tar patching the cracks. Intersecting this road is another road, a smooth black top, leading away towards the horizon. This road goes into bare land, no bushes or grass, just dirt – except for a large leafless tree farther in the distance. The land looks like it has been freshly plowed; it’s smooth. It seems to be marked off in long rectangles framed with 2x4s, as if someone were outlining plats parallel to the street.
The sky is colorless-dark; not blue or gray, just dark. No moon. Possibly a few smudgy clouds. The land is dark grayish brown, the 2x4s lighter. The street lights only illuminate as far as the concrete road. Beyond is only darkness.
The wolf is standing in one of the plats, relaxed but looking straight at me. Her fur is thick, thick white, edged in silver, that shows up softly against the flat brown of the dirt. No stark contrast; it all seems to blend together. But she is plainly there. Her legs are long and thin with sparse feathers moving slightly in what little wind exists. Her eyes are dark, of course, and she looks at me steadily as if she’s watching to see what I will do next. I do not move.
I wake up knowing that she is there. She is always there. No matter how much I may wish she’d leave me for a bit, give me a day off, she will always be there. She will not leave me. She will be beside me for the rest of my life, and if I stay calm, she will stay calm. If I walk too fast, too abrupt, if I make a wrong move, she could turn and attack. But she is there. I have seen her now for the first time, and now I know I have no reason to be afraid. She is simply there.
She will always be there.