“I don’t know.”
“I do. You’re ready.”
“Trust me, you can do it. You’re healed.”
The Owl hesitated. “Now? Here?”
“Why not? There’s no one around.” They were strolling around the reservoir near the Wolf’s place, dusk falling rapidly and as the Wolf had pointed out, no one about.
“Okay.” The Owl stopped and at first turned to look directly at the Wolf but then changed his mind and turned away. One moment there was a man with brown hair and a reddish beard, the next there was an Owl whose feathers looked blood red in the fading sun.
“Good.” The Wolf watched the Owl ruffle his feathers and spread his wings. “Go on, you can do it.”
The Owl turned to face the Wolf and twisted his head one way and then the other like he was cracking his neck. Then he opened his surprisingly expansive wings, beat once, twice, and was off into the trees. When he could no longer see him the Wolf closed his eyes and tracked his progress with other senses. The Owl circled the reservoir twice and then dropped down below the tree line, landing and changing in one fluid motion onto the gravel pathway in front of the Wolf.
“I did it!” He laughed and hugged the Wolf.
“Yeah ya did.”
“I fucking did it.”
“Told you, you’re fine.”
The Owl kissed the Wolf on the cheek. “Thank you. C’mon!”
The Owl was healed. He took on even more work, he played more gigs, worked on an album, spent less time with the Wolf, Whose job was done. For his part the Wolf was glad for the other boy, happy to have had a part in the Owl’s recovery, understanding of the need to seclude himself and lay to rest some of the demons that had been haunting him. The Owl gave the Wolf a copy of his new album, signed with love and gratitude. He listened to it surrounded by the scent of nag champa incense, face buried in the t-shirt that the Owl had worn when he first became the boy amongst the feathers on the Wolf’s bedroom floor.