Friends!! So glad to be here! I was driving all day yesterday and today, so forgive me for being quiet. Love you all! Loving the materials, Dominique! xoxo
The story I’m going to tell you is unbelievable.
Many years ago, when I was still married, I fell in love. When confronted, I hid my lover inside the body of a fox. And that is how I came to be in love with a fox. It ended badly, as we both should have predicted, and I didn’t see him for a while after that. Also predictable.
That part is true. But you can read that story elsewhere. I’m not the first woman to fall in love with a fox and I won’t be the last.
But this is where it gets unbelievable. When that story ended, as all stories with wild things must, all the foxes disappeared. Not just for a little while. And not just him, but all the foxes. Gone.
The coyotes were quick to move in, all machismo and jock with their gray playboy eyes. I entertained them briefly as they howled for me each sunset, secretly hoping the foxes would hear and be driven back with jealousy. But eventually after the initial conquest the coyotes found more interesting prey and we both moved on.
It’s the mange people said when I asked them where all the foxes had gone. The mange came through here a few years ago and wiped them all out.
But I knew it wasn’t the mange.
I didn’t see any foxes for a year, then two. I began to doubt if I should have written about things so wild and delicate. Bad enough to upset the balance by loving a wild thing, but then to expose it in words, and then to cast those words out in the world, was a much graver magic. A dangerous magic that I was far too young and immature to know how to handle.
In my defense I was young, and careless, and should never have been allowed access to anyone’s heart. Collecting foxtails like beautiful charms on a bracelet. But the spell was already cast. The mother bird rejects her baby after it’s been wiped with a human scent. The foxes were gone. I said my penance for the unholy union, the incest of my ego, and in the years that followed I resisted walking the roads by the old fox dens. People continued to send me pictures of fox sightings in faraway places. But I made a mental note to never visit those places.
That part is all true. But here’s the unbelievable part:
I started a new story. I was determined this story would have nothing to do with foxes or coyotes or even love. In this story the people were ridiculous and tragic and poignant and unbelievable things happened and it was sad and funny and funnysad and they had tragic or poignant or even absurd outcomes.
One year ago I finished that story. And then one year ago, it, too, began to come true. Not just little parts. The whole thing. With slight poetic variations, barely disguised. Each day I tried to write myself ahead of the story, but I was quickly overtaken. The more ridiculous the people became, the further the edge receded until there was no edge. And with each passing day, that which had been outlandish was no longer outlandish, that which had been metaphor was now truth, and I watched the edge disappear like a baby slowly being crushed, like a ridiculous auto de fe, and that slow burn was perhaps the worst of all.
At this point I must tell you something else unbelievable if any of this is going to make any sense. Once, long ago, I was in a terrible accident, the kind that ends lives. But my life didn’t end. In those moments of impact, mere seconds as I lifted out of my body, I was given a choice: Stay or go? Stay. Yes. I made the deal. A deal that would allow me to return. Judge me if you like. But I was young and stupid and happy to be alive and for many years I wasn’t exactly what I had agreed to.
By now it should be clear what kind of deal had transpired in those moments before impact. They say Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo in return for sexual favors, but when she didn’t come through with the favors he cursed the gift—she could see the future, but was unable to change it. And now, too, it seemed, no matter what I wrote. Not matter how ridiculous or tragic or poignant. I even stopped writing the story, but the events were already in motion. Out of my hands. The act of burning had only activated it further, cast into the blowing wind.
So here’s the unbelievable part. Last week a coyote arrived, the first one I’ve seen in many years. He was wandering almost delusional through the apartment complex, barbed wire around his neck, a red gash blooming like a scarf through his fur. With those gray eyes of eternity I remembered. Begging me to change the ending.