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  • you approach
    sidelong
    aloof

    disbelieving
    I ignore you

    yet closer
    gently
    you approach

    patient, exhilarated
    I ignore you

    drawn in
    inquisitive
    you reach

    eyes, focus, elsewhere
    I reach

    contact
    unexpected
    impossible

    touch
    magical
    the never could have happened
    happened

    ***

    I have dedicated so much of my time to this place, to you and your fellows. I have chosen to do that; to direct my attention and focus and energy towards this. I could never really explain to myself why I needed to do this. I was drawn here. My heart told me it was the right thing to do, the right place to be. But I couldn't explain it rationally.

    But that morning a lot became clear to me. I accepted, finally, what my heart had known all along.

    I am here for you. To care for you and show you peace. To protect you and let you hide.

    And the greatest reward is not seeing the light begin to shine in strangers eyes as I tell them your story. Nor is it in seeing dreams become ideas become reality thanks to the honest work of many hands. Nor is it in the peace I feel in dedicating my heart to this place. These are all great rewards in their own right.


    But the greatest?


    The greatest is that which you gave me. A gift I hoped for but never expected to receive. A fleeting will-o'-the-wisp of a gift that shall stay with me forever, beyond the ephemeral physicality with which it was given.


    You gave me your trust.


    That morning, Apollo, when you trotted down, and just kept on coming. Farah had beaten you there, but for once she didn't defend me from you. You came boldly up to the corner, and, disbelieving, wrapped in hope, I reached my hand out, pushing my fingers through the fence, over to your side. And for the first time, instead of turning away, you reached forward, inquisitive, to take my scent.

    My fingers felt your soft wet nose, and a reality came into existence that I never thought possible. I had touched you. The world had moved from one where I would never touch you into one where you trusted me enough to give me that simple magic.
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