Makarelle Winter 2021/22: 'Love is Love'

Short Story Fiction - “ Wild Love ” by Mina Ma

fered to walk me out of the forest. I declined, so they went back and told her I was safe and sound, right where dad had left me. Then, when I didn’t come home that night, she phoned the police. They found me, too, interviewed me, and I told them my side of the story. They went back and, according to the grapevine, said to her, ‘Well, your daughter’s over eighteen, she can do as she pleases.’ Dad and mum showed up on the edge of the for- est, demanding I went home with them, but I refused. They ordered us to break up, but we didn’t. Mum tried emotional blackmail, saying, ‘You’ve just gone and bro- ken my heart.’ I told them to go home. That was that, as far as I was concerned. We were like Romeo and Juliet; telling us we couldn’t be to- gether, that just made us want to be together even more. Of course, I know how those lovers ended up, and believe me, Bear and I’ll fare better than they did. My aunt let us move into her garage. She’s di- vorced from mum’s brother, so likes to piss him off by doing the opposite of what he says. I used the door into the house, so I could go in the kitchen and bathroom; Bear used the electric panel door, and went round the side of the garage into the garden – the forest starts right after her fence. We were quiet, clean, and didn’t get in my aunt’s way too much. It wasn’t all plain sailing, but we knew it was just temporary till we got our own place, so we made it work. But going from caring about only my- self, to caring about something else; that was the easy part.

‘We don’t need a common language,’ I said. ‘I look in Bear’s eyes, and I know his thoughts, and what’s in his heart. He tells me stories, without words.’

‘Don’t you both want different things, what with

him being a bear?’ they asked.

‘No; we want the same thing: to be together, for-

ever,’ I said.

They kind of stayed away, after that. I think they’re jealous, or something. I get it, though; not many fish in the sea, in this town. Yeah, I’ve heard people say things like ‘What do you see in him, anyway?’, and ‘Go back to your own habitat!’, or ‘Aren’t humans good enough for you?’. We just ignore them. What do they know, with their closed minds? What do I love most about him? The stillness I find when I’m alone with him. ‘He’s nothing but a crea- ture,’ my dad said. ‘Always will be.’ Well, those words are meaningless in the forest. Dark past? Hell no. My past is darker than his! I can tell by your face you don’t believe me; listen, I’ve skipped class, shoplifted cheap make-up and body spray that mum wouldn’t buy me, had a few underage drinks, smoked the odd joint, and done other things I don’t care to see in print for the sake of our future kids, but what’s Bear done? Nothing but roam the forest, scratch at trees, eat berries, take salmon from the stream – and those things don’t even belong to anyone, so it’s not like he’s trespassing, vandalising, or stealing. Despite what some people say, there are rules in the forest. Oh, yeah, I forgot; there was that incident with my uncle. What happened was, we ran into him one day, on the street. He started yelling, saying things I won’t re- peat, and Bear bit him. Now, Bear isn’t used to biting hu- mans, so, yes, my uncle lost his arm, and we’re sorry about that, but it wasn’t intentional or anything, and real- ly, Bear was provoked. Yes, there will be kids, and no, I’m not going to talk about our sex life; it’s private, and I’m sick of people asking.

Bear proposed.

Yeah, we were moving quick, but we knew it was right. Have you ever felt like that? No? Oh, you will one day, I’m sure of it. We went round to tell my parents. Not to ask permission, since we knew they’d never give it, but just to let them know, out of politeness.

They wouldn’t let Bear in the house, so the con-

versation happened on the front porch.

Dad said, ‘I didn’t raise you to marry no god-

damn animal.’

I said, ‘Well, we’re all of us animals, aren’t we? Deep down. Some more than others, perhaps, but, I mean, I’ve always thought of myself as being part -animal; part- wild.’ He had no answer to that. And what’s the dif- ference between a bear killing its food in the forest with claws and teeth, and a man going into the forest with a gun? There are different types of wild , and one type is more natural, kinder, than the other, I’d say. Mum decided I was under a spell. Went to the faith healer, the tarot card reader, the herbalist. Asked the priest to do an exorcism – we’re not even Catholic. She decided I was crazy. Went to the doctor, begging and de- manding they lock me up, for my own protection. Paid a fancy psychiatrist in the city. I spoke to all of them, like she asked, and said to all of them, ‘I’m just a woman who knows what she wants.’ And I’m still here, aren’t I? No one’s locked me away, so I can’t be crazy.

No, not even off the record.

You know, I saw an article in another magazine, where a psychologist said I only love Bear because he’s ferocious, and can protect me, and that I must have some childhood trauma. Well, that’s not right at all. I’m the one who’s ferocious, and my only trauma is people standing in the way of this relationship. Make sure you put this part in your story: The vicar refused to marry us. Said we were ‘an abomination’. Well, I didn’t want church bells, white lace, and flowers anyway, and I didn’t want a ceremony performed by someone with a wicked heart, but the nice lady at the registry office – Janet – she said if Bear comes from the forest, then he’s a citizen of this town too, so we could get married, providing there were no objections. Well, Bear and I looked at each other, because we knew there’d be objections, but we also knew we’d handle them. Of course, Dad had a few things to say to Janet as soon as he heard about our wedding plans. Told her she

No, my friends didn’t get it, either. ‘How do you

communicate?’ they asked.


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‘ Love is Love ’ 1/2022

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