A big, black bear with a deafening bark is how my neighbors fear you. Seldom has a night passed without you disturbing us with your barks. When such an oddity does occur, my neighbors can’t sleep even more! How could they, when everyone models you as the vigilante of our neighborhood.
Nights don’t seem to pass when you don’t bark, but the ticking’s of the clock sure move fast for a hyper-active creature like you. I have noticed the strands of grey on your head, Denzel. And I have noticed a lot more. You’re no longer the black bear who could jump 2 feet from the ground to snatch the bread from my hand. Your torrid moves have now become placid steps of maturity. You are now the big brother of mine who has learnt the tricks of this world in which I’m still trying to figure out.
On lazy afternoons you would stare out at the clouds, perhaps reminiscing your past. Or maybe gazing into the future for I know your brain works even faster than your legs chasing the cat. Who would ever find out what mysteries unravel in the depths of your eyes as you gaze towards yonder sky?
Hey! You sleep a lot now-a-days Denzel and I have seen you dreaming wide awake in your sleep. The legs moving frantically, a hushed bark now and then as you chase someone in your dreams. Poor soul he must be to be at the receiving end of your rage. The neighborhood cat, the white butterflies fluttering in front of our porch, the gang of stray dogs that roam about at night or anything moving for that matter could interest you and keep you occupied for hours. Not like us humans who always hanker after luxuries, never seeming to extinguish our greed.
You realize now that they can be dreams only from your past, brother. Your spirit is indomitable, but now when you try to chase me I can hear the panting of your breath. I realize that my big, black bear is growing old as you trail off far behind, yet never giving up the chase.
I know you miss Mr. Frog with whom you used to share your lunch every day. Old Mr. Frog has been gone for quite awhile now. Maybe you have seen him hopping from one cloud to another in the sky and that’s why you so often stare up skywards. He was a close friend I know, for who else had the courage to touch your plate when you were around! In spite of his loss, with ears cocked you try your best to bury your sad thoughts as you guard the house; always wary of the sly cat trying to sneak in through the window.
Sometimes I have seen you peering below the washing machine hoping to find old Mr. Frog again. But you know what they say, my little-big brother, “…and the leaf that goes down the stream is ought not to return”. The memories from our past…they will continue to haunt us. The past is but to be only dreamt of, never to be given space in our present realm.
I know your spirit still yearns for a fight in the street with your pals to prove your dominance all over again. But I say, let them continue thinking of you as a bear rather than de-mystifying their beliefs. You have treaded your path and now don’t need to prove anything anymore, Denzel.
Your bark still comforts us all that you are ever ready to guard our neighborhood. You had had your moments of sunshine and now it’s your time for taking an afternoon siesta. Take rest and gear up! Because when I return, you MUST be able to take me down. And then together we’ll chase the butterfly, the cat…or whatever’s worth chasing in front your deep, brown eyes.