Chapter 4 - Howls of the wolf
After two weeks both Jazz and I were feeling a bit crazy since we had to stay inside so often with mum. Mum could tell and so she found a house nurse that would visit for a few hours every day. It gave Jazz and I a break, and meant that mum was left in capable hands. On our first day of freedom we retraced our favourite path. It lead through the fields, they were filled with lavender flowers this time of year, and into the forest. The forest path took us through pines, which I loved the smell of. I would run my hands along the trunks as we passed, loving the familiarity and the texture. Jazz would be sniffing away ahead of me, but always close by. After we crossed the bridge I got excited remembering the small stream. I could hear the water bubbling away over the rocks, and I made my way to the small beach. Taking off my shoes I tentatively dipped my toes in the water. The water was a nice spring temperature, quite refreshing. I loved the sensation of the water running over my toes. I could hear Jazz splashing about and could tell she was enjoying it too.
Suddenly Jazz moved close to me, and leaned hard into my shoulder. I wondered what had caused the sudden change. She even gave a low growl. I sniffed the air, and picked up a whiff of what was upsetting her. The smell of canine, but it smelt different to a dog. And then I realised, it was a wolf. I couldn’t hear it but it must have been pretty close to get Jazz on guard. Rather than try to retreat I decided to wait it out, hoping Jazz’s presence would deter it from getting any closer. It was moments like these that frightened me, though I’d never admit it. The fear of the unknown, wild animals are unpredictable and I could not see where it was or what it was doing. I relied heavily on Jazz to protect me. After a few minutes Jazz relaxed, the wolf must have moved off. As we got up to leave I suddenly heard a long, mournful howl. There was only one voice, so I guessed it was a lone wolf just passing through. The sound of the howl made my skin tingle. It was a beautiful sound, unlike any human sounds. It seemed to fill the forest. I was glad wolves were around here, they belonged here just as much as we did and it felt like a link to my dad.
Later that evening I called Eve to tell her about the wolf. She was really excited about it. Turns out she was quite the nature lover in her spare time. I grinned at the excitement in her voice and decided to invite her over on the weekend to see if we could find the wolf again. She said she’d be there early Saturday. I couldn’t wait. When Saturday finally arrived Eve knocked on the door bright and early. When I opened the door I was confused, I could smell Eve, but also someone else. I greeted Eve and enquired about the second smell. ‘So’ Eve said nervously, ‘this is Sam, my son’. I was shocked, her son?! Regaining my composure I extended my hand to greet him. A small hand grasped mine and he shyly said hi. ‘How old is he?’ I asked. ‘He’s 5 years old, I had him at a very young age’ she replied. Still trying to take it all in I invited them into the lounge. She had a son? Why had she never mentioned him before?
Sam was immediately besotted with Jazz, rubbing her belly and showering her in attention. I took the chance to chat to Eve, she apologized straight away for not telling me. ‘We were just getting to know each other, I didn’t know how to bring it up… My mum usually helps look after him but she was busy today’. Just then the nurse arrived and I had a moment to myself to process it all whilst greeting her. A kid complicated things, where was the father? What was it even complicating? We’d had one kiss. What did it mean? I shook it off, today was about the wolf. I’d sort out my feelings about Eve later.
Heading back into the lounge I knelt down to Sam and Jazz’s level. I instructed Jazz to come and held out my hand to Sam. ‘Do you want to go find a wolf?!’ Excitedly he agreed and took my hand. Eve held my other hand and we headed off. Eve was being a bit quiet so to break the silence I asked if she’d ever seen a wild wolf before. She hadn’t, only in the zoos. She said wolves were Sam’s favourite animal. I secretly liked that, they were mine too. I also liked that Sam had never said a word about my blindness, most kids his age I’d come across were always asking rude questions and wanting to see my eyes. I mentioned this to Eve and she smiled, ‘yeah he’s a good kid, he’s spent a bit of time at the hospital waiting for my shift to end and so has been around a lot of sickness and injuries’. He learned early on that it’s rude to ask people about their sickness.
We reached the bridge and I slowed down, whispering that this was where we came across the wolf. I took off my backpack and pulled out some sandwiches I’d prepared earlier. I could tell Eve was impressed with my domestic skills. We sat in silence and ate our sandwiches, listening and waiting. Just when Sam and Jazz were beginning to get restless we heard something. A small twig broke. Jazz instantly moved close to me, on guard. Eve urged Sam close to her. Then Sam grabbed my hand excitedly, ‘A wolf!’ he whispered excitedly. I grinned at his excitement, I could smell it nearby. Jazz was on edge, but less so than last time. Eve told me it was about 20m away, partially obscured by shrubs, it was just standing there watching us. I asked her what colour it was, and if it looked like an adult. She said he was almost completely black, with flecks of white across his back and she reckoned he was a male in his prime. It was thrilling, to have a wild creature this close. I slowly reached for my bag, and pulled out a bit of steak I’d stashed in there. I handed it to Eve, ‘throw it to him?’ I asked. ‘Are you sure it’s safe?’ she enquired ‘What if he attacks us wanting more?’ I wasn’t sure but wanted to at least try it. We had Jazz with us, and I’m sure she’d protect us if things went south. Eve reluctantly agreed and threw the meat towards him. ‘He’s sniffing it!’ Sam squealed. ‘Shhh’ said Eve ‘don’t draw his attention to us’.
Eve told me that with a quick sniff and flick of his tail the wolf promptly dismissed the meat and walked off. I was happy with this response, I’d wanted to know if he was human smart. Hunters often left out meat laced with poison to take down wolves. This one had obviously encountered this trick before. I was pleased that our wolf was a smart one, and that he’d returned to our forest. I wondered if he’d make a home here. As we prepared to depart we were once again serenaded with a wolf howls, but this time there was not one, but two voices. ‘Two!’ I exclaimed to Eve, ‘maybe he found a mate!’ Sam told me he’d learnt that lone wolves were often young adults looking for a mate and that when they found one they’d often stop travelling and settle down to make a den. I was impressed with his knowledge, and he was right. I hoped our wolves would be settling down and having pups in the near future.