February 12, 2015: Snow Drifts

The snow is starting to fall again.
No matter how much I hope, it’s still winter every time I wake up.

I walk to the deli to get my morning coffee and the morning newspapers.

Outside, sitting on a snow-covered bench in front of the dry cleaners, is a polar bear and a giant, grey wolf.

Think he’s come to kill us?

I don’t know. He doesn’t look much like a hunter, does he?

I don’t think he has the patience for hunting.

I could hear them whispering and looking at me. Two giant beasts just sitting casually in public.

I bring them coffee from the deli and sit next to the polar bear.

Wait. I know you. You write those little stories for that little newspaper, don’t you?

That’s him? I thought he’d look different.

They’re laughing, but the bear pats my back with a giant paw, letting me know it’s all in sport.

You look cold. That’s a shame. I love the winter.

Of course you do. You’re a bear.

The bear.

Right, right. The Bear. Nanook of the Great White North!

Why do you have to say it like that?

They tease each other and shove playfully.

We watch the snow fall. It’s quiet. Everyone is at work or hiding indoors, staying warm.

It used to be different. Remember?

Yeah. They used to fear us Amorak.

I used to get offerings. I’d bless people. Now, with guns and whatever else they use…they don’t need my help with the hunt.

I can’t even tell what you’re thinking, man. Used to be nothing could conceal anything from me.

The snow drifts by, a group of teenagers shuffle into the pizza parlor across the street.

I’ve died a thousand deaths for my people. I’ve watched over them.

I’ve strengthened them. Rattled their bones. Maybe stole a soul or two from the lake…but not for years.

They look older than I realized at first. The wolf’s tail is starting to mange and the bear has scar tissue showing.

They drink their coffee and the silence continues.
The snow lets up, leaving just a grey sky.
I stand up, scratch the wolf behind the ears and pat the bear’s head.

Hey, man, don’t forget about us, okay? We’re old. We need a little pick up sometimes.

The wolf grins and drinks the last of his coffee.

Yeah, throw us a prayer every now and then. Or just bring us coffee again. That works, too.

They both laugh and I start walking towards the office, offering each a little prayer as the snow starts falling again.

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