The Bear

Sara Reed Wilson

Brenau University, Georgia, USA

I never meant for this to happen. I never meant for it to go all wrong the way it eventually went. I just saw you in Tesco one day, and we were instinctively drawn to each other. Or at least, I was drawn in. Two animals, two ships passing in the night. The gold band heavy on my finger, Daniel’s life insurance policy sitting open on the desk. It would all go to me someday when he died. If he died before I did, that is. If I died first I would get nothing but the cold taste of dirt and defeat. 

Our eyes first met over a whole carton of apples you were stealing and I knew then. I knew from Daniel’s reaction to your large form, your intensity, the volume of which you roared, the weight you threw around. You were the key to my freedom. This bear was going to kill my husband. 

He ran frantically about the store, dodging displays to try and get away. I drew nearer to you. Was it out of comfort? Pity? I’m not sure. Approaching the ferocious beast I placed my hands on your large head. We were not afraid of each other. Carefully, I placed a peck square between your brown and fuzzy ears. We locked eyes and then you knew your mission, understood my intent. You were to kill my husband. 

I watched with glee as the chase began and was quickly lost. No man, especially not Daniel, can outmatch a bear in a grocery store.

Once it was done I actually cheered. Cheered for you. Cheered for the bear that killed my husband. I watched your cold, dark, dead eyes meet mine. It was done.

And yet. At the end of your rampage I was left with nothing. No insurance money, no house on the cape, no heavy gold jewelry. Nothing but the cold taste of dirt and defeat.