Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Microstory 823: Bear to Cross

Something you might not have known is that not all bears like to swim, or are very good at it. Years ago, I was trekking through the wilderness in Siberia when I came across this very small kamchatka brown here. He was trying to fish in the river as I was passing by. We waved to each other, but neither one of us was there to make friends, so we didn’t stop to talk, or anything. So I just kept walking down the trail, enjoying the quiet solitude, eventually turning away from the river. Later on, though, the trail meets back up with the same river, and even crosses it. As I was drawing nearer, I started to hear this splashing and growling upriver. At first, I assumed the same bear came down, and was having a hard time with the hunt. Or it was some other bear. Honestly, I can’t really tell bears apart. I’m not racist, though, I just want to make that clear. I have bear friends. Anyway, he’s not having trouble fishing, but with swimming. He had fallen in, and even though bears are meant to be excellent swimmers, this one never seemed to figure it out. I imagine he was the runt of the family, and wasn’t cared for, or taught by his mother, the way a bear should.

He was gasping for air, trying to get out, looking to grab onto anything in his path. He found it in a branch, and thought he was safe, but he wasn’t. Something about the way that branch is hanging, it’s like it was trying to pull him all the way under. If he lost air for just a few more seconds, I was afraid he wouldn’t not make it. So I rushed up to him, and after fighting against the current, and making sure the panicky bear didn’t take me down with him, I got him out. We caught our respective breaths on the bank, but don’t speak right away. I gave up my life in finance so I wouldn’t have to talk to people anymore, and he didn’t appear too interested in getting to know anyone any more than I was. Still, we exchanged a few pleasantries, and I handed him my old business card, which still has my cell phone number on it. I told him to look me up if he ever found himself stateside, which was exactly what happened a year ago. He didn’t know anyone in North America, and needed a place to crash, so he decided to bite the bullet, and ask me for the favor. Unfortunately, since I gave up my job, I didn’t exactly have a place to live either. I was crashing at someone else’s place already at the time. He tried to be affectionate, hoping we could go halfsies on a cheap motel room, but he was clearly agitated he came all this way, and had no place to stay. To keep the peace, I agreed to the deal, and end up just paying for the room myself. We’ve been roommates ever since. It turns out we have a lot in common. We both hate Trump and Putin.

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