Don't Say That

“Why?” He asks later, as we’re eating some fresh milkweed, wild rice, and dried chokecherries.

“Why what?” I speak, my mouth full. Table manners leave when you find no need to use them.

“Why did you become a hermit? What, were you dropped off in the woods and raised by black bears?”

I roll my eyes. “Please. I chose this for myself.”

“But why?”

“My reasons abound.”

Silence awhile. “You know, I’ve never met anyone like you before.”

I look up at him then, my eyes wide, remembering.

“For some reason, I feel like…I don’t know. The way I keep running into you. It feels…like I was supposed to meet you.”

“Don’t say that,” I say, unable to keep the fear out of my voice.

“Why not, if it’s true?”

“Don’t do this. Don’t get attached to me, Nick,” my voice quavers in terror.

“What happened to the last guy to get attached? How dangerous can it be?”

“You won’t understand.” I say.

“I’ll try.”

At that moment, I stand up, leave my dish in the kitchen, and swiftly leave the cabin.

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