#1913

It would be poetic to say I was raised by wolves, but not entirely accurate. Wolves care for their young and teach them how to survive in the wild, and I cannot say the same for you. Perhaps, if I may extend the metaphor, I could say I was raised by lone wolves. Wolves who had walked too long without a pack and no longer remembered what it is like to be part of a structured society. Wolves who guarded their scant possessions with ready teeth and would snap the leg of a family member as easily as the leg of a prey animal, if only to keep them from leaving. Into this disfunction I was delivered, the feral human child begrudgingly allowed to follow in your tracks and chew on your discarded bones. No wonder I’m not quite right, uneasy among my own kind and having always to translate from wordless beast-thought to this clumsy human language. I think my fellow humans can smell the lingering musk on me, too, or perhaps they see the way I struggle to hide my teeth. I do not fully belong with them, and they know it; I do not fully belong in the wilds, and you will not let me forget it.

I could spend long nights wondering what I might have been like, had I never known you, but why? Nature, nurture, free will, fate, they all flatten to two dimensions with the passage of time. Maybe without you I would have grown up seeing the world through human eyes, and I would not have this hungry, restless thing caged inside me. But maybe without you I would have died in those woods, or reverted to something beyond feral, and I would not have even the harsh manners you imposed on me with tooth and claw. For better or worse, we are misfits together, lone wolves eeking out an existence on the fringes between the ones who reject us and the ones who hunt us.

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