• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 08
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She-wolf and Son-cub

He leans his shoulder blades against the wall, his back arched, his arms dangling, and he wails. His voice echoes around the platform and along the tunnels. The sound is raw and animal.

I remember a friend's words: when he is most challenging is when he is most in need of patience and support.

And love too, of course. Though that goes without saying.

Here, below the city streets, the light is green and the air is dusty. There is a buzz running through the cables. A draught wafts the hot stench of engine grease and fast food outlets between the platforms.

Trains stop briefly to disgorge their passengers. People hurry past, rushing to catch the next one or to ride the escalators to the surface. Each step takes them closer to office desks, to business meetings, to hospitals and shops and theatres.

Those passers-by closest to us step around him, glancing anxiously from the teenage boy to the edge of the train tracks and back. Most hardly pause, plugged into their i-phones and tablets.

A woman glances up from her book and I see an expression that might be sympathy or solidarity. Maybe she too has a son or brother like this. Maybe she too knows this painful moment will pass.

I allow my bag to drop to the ground and I align my body - shoulders, arched back, firmly rooted feet - with my child's. And together, she-wolf and son-cub, we raise our heads and howl.