Recently, I discovered a forest at the end of my street. I like to go there sometimes, and wander the little pathways that wind between the scrub and gumtrees. It reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of the time I thought I was a wolf.
I had decided to form a wolf pack at school. I assigned roles to each member (arrogantly appointing myself as the alpha) and mapped the mountains of Europe across the schoolyard. Each lunch time, the pack roamed the playground, howling at the sky and hunting the horse-mad girls. We chased them around the football fields and pretended to eat them when we caught them. They neighed in protest and tried to crack our skulls with their imaginary hooves.
But the pack was short-lived. We fell apart due to infighting, politics, and the general nastiness present in pre-pubescent girls. There may have been some biting. I became a lone wolf, a solitary hunter. I sat by myself at lunch, and felt remarkably happy about it. If no one could be as good a wolf as me, then I didn’t need them anyway.
And today as I ducked under branches and stepped over stones, I remembered that wolf-like feeling. My fingers curled into my palms to form paws. I imagined my ears twitching at each snapped twig and bird call. I looked up at the moon, faded in the daylight and for a moment, I was a wolf again.
I wouldn’t call it nostalgia, because I don’t look back at that time with fondness. To be honest, I was a beast of a child.