A wolf was in our basement last night, staring at me with his iced blue eyes as I retrieved a jug of lemonade from the refrigerator.
I don’t mean this metaphorically; and it’s not like that time I saw the trunk of a palm tree through our hotel window and thought it was the leg of an elephant, it’s gray skin cracking in the tropical heat, you laughing at my wild imagination with your one martini breath on mine. It was late, yes. I took sleeping pills, I believe. Maybe I even downed a few shots of vodka and woke parched, feeling like my body was nothing but bird feathers and spilled cartilage. Still, still, I know he was there. It was everything else that was the dream, my life wrapped around that moment. How strange it was to see a world only revealed in death, the past compressed instead of dangling, the present naked of time. If I looked away, I knew the beast would be gone, so I kept my eyes there for as long as I could, angered by the nature of momentum, taking in his sleek, snowy fur, peppered in ash. I would need to blink, to shut the refrigerator door, to walk back up the stairs, crawl into our bed, separate the sheets you always tucked in too tight, maybe wake to tell you we had a wolf in the basement. But you’d tell me I was crazy, ask me how much I had to drink, and then we’d fight, and the wolf would get lost in the story and become a metaphor, and I couldn’t handle any more metaphors. So, I closed the refrigerator door, heard his nails tapping on the wood floor, following me into bed and behind my closed lids, eyeing my bird feathers, inhaling the cartilage spilling between us.
ILLUSTRATION BY KERRI-ANN HULME
Kerri-Ann is a children's book designer working in London. In her spare time she is busy drawing and creating for her brand Radish & Rose. Her favourite animals to draw are rabbits and she has filled an entire sketchbook full of them! Find her on Instagram: @radish_and_rose